Thanks for the kind words about “trouser inferno,” and for your comments in general. Let me try to address them one by one, as I do think there’s quite a lot to get worked up about.
Trump’s connections to Russia have proven to be very significant indeed, and the whole story hasn’t even come out yet. Remember he swore up and down that he had ZERO business connections in Russia and nobody on his campaign had ever met with any Russians? And now it turns out that dozens of his people met with the Russians, and he himself was negotiating a multimillion dollar real estate deal right up to almost Election Day, including offering Putin a $50 million penthouse (read: a bribe), all while lying about it to the American people? That bald-faced lie alone constitutes a massive security risk in terms of foreign leverage over him, and justifies investigation. (If those meetings and that deal were all innocent, why did they all feel the need to lie about them?)
I also must disagree about the Steele dossier; rather than being discredited, a shocking amount of it has been proven true. (Remember that even Steele himself assessed it as only about 80% accurate.)
You ask: “Are there any actual crimes here?” You’ve got to be kidding. You may not be able to get worked up about campaign finance laws, but that doesn’t make Trump’s actions any less illegal. These are not “manufactured crimes based on fabricated evidence.” What Trump and Cohen did was a felony, and the proof is undeniable (like canceled checks); that’s why Cohen was convicted in federal court and is going to prison for three years, and why Trump was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. I don’t know your politics, sir, but are you saying you’d be fine with it if Hillary Clinton made illegal hush money payments on the eve of the election to cover up something embarrassing that might have torpedoed her candidacy?
You say you care about the rule the law but are not bothered by people lying to the FBI? Again, I must ask: would you feel that way if it was Nancy Pelosi’s lawyer lying to the FBI? Or Barack Obama’s? Your comment that the FBI “is lying to the accused” is totally incorrect, and the First Amendment has nothing to do with any of this. The right to free speech does not mean the right to perjury.
What you call “bait-and”switch” is in fact the law enforcement community doing its job. The Stormy Daniels payments are not being investigated by the special counsel; they’re being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. That is their job: to investigate any and all crimes that emerge. That also includes decades of tax fraud, wanton criminality within the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation, illegally taking foreign money for the inauguration (i.e., accepting bribes), laundering money for Russian oligarchs through sketchy actors like Deutsche Bank, and more. (Not to mention refusing to release his tax returns or divest from his businesses in violation of the emoluments clause, continuing the pattern of entanglement and fealty to foreign actors.) Malum prohibitum? We’re talking about crimes that make Watergate look like jaywalking.
Again, thank you for your time, Jim. You’re obviously a very intelligent guy, so I hope you’ll consider some of these arguments. But with all due respect, in a way your comments exemplify exactly what my essay was about. Those who are sympathetic to Trump (and I don’t know if you’re a Trump supporter per se, but your remarks suggest that you are at least sympathetic to him and his case) will never be convinced by any amount of evidence against him.