Time was, colluding with Russia could get you killed; back when Russia was the USSR, our WWII ally, and the collusion was turning over an amateurish drawing of an atom bomb trigger. A drawing so bad that it was useless to the Soviets. So bad that it made my elementary school art look like masterworks But it was enough to get Julius Rosenberg electrocuted.
How things have changed. Three members of Future Ex-President Donald Trump’s campaign had an exchange by email and meetings with Russian diplomats and proxies. The stated purpose was to offer Russian assistance to beat Hillary Clinton. Bring it on, the Trumpistas said, meeting up at Trump Tower right under Trump’s nose with an emissary from Putin, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
We don’t yet know the precise outcome of the meeting. We do know that the “dangle” offered by Russia was Russian help to attack Hillary Clinton with dirt dug up by Russia’s intelligence. We all know what happened eventually. Russia carried out its cyber attack on Clinton and the Democrats to benefit Trump. The only thing we don’t know is the price paid to the Russians for the boost. My guess is that it’s a bit more valuable than a lousy drawing. It’s also my guess that none of the Trump operatives will ever see the inside of a jail cell.
Let me say it before you do – How stupid can I be to compare a little political gamesmanship with giving away atomic secrets? So let’s break it down. The Soviets were our ally when Rosenberg was an atomic spymaster. By 1950 it was our existential Cold War enemy. McCarthyism was at its peak. Bad timing for the Rosenbergs. There’s no excuse for his espionage but nobody but the Rosenbergs were executed for acts taken in peacetime.
Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort’s actions crossed the same line. Even if they, like Julius Rosenberg, thought the Russians were friends, not enemies, at the least they were so reckless and craven to consider undermining our Presidential election, by dealing with a foreign power. Maybe Junior is too stupid to know better. Kushner and Manafort knew better. Kushner’s repeated falsifications on his security clearance declarations show his guilty knowledge.
If you think that comparing Rosenberg and the Trump syndicate is a false equivalence, you’re misjudging how destructive it is to let Russia hijack the integrity of our elections and how dangerous it is for Trump’s son and son-in-law to open themselves to potential blackmail. It’s as destructive as the A-bomb to the survival of the American republic.