Instead, by arguing that collusion with a foreign government is fine, Hannity and Gingrich have given themselves license to defend almost anything that now comes out. McClatchy reported on Wednesday that congressional and justice department investigators are looking into whether the Trump campaign helped direct Russia’s fake news attacks against Hillary Clinton. Hannity and Gingrich now have their answer: Collusion is fine. The fact that Rob Goldstone, in his email to Donald Jr., said the meeting with Veselnitskaya was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” and that he suggested “I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [his secretary]” suggests that President Trump may well have known his campaign was colluding with Russia. But Trump’s defenders now have a justification for that too.
Trump and his defenders have executed this maneuver before. Last fall, when the release of the Access Hollywood tape, combined with numerous allegations of sexual harassment, imperiled Trump’s campaign, his defenders began focusing on Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions. The Trump campaign even invited three Clinton accusers to the October 9 presidential debate. The implication was clear: Lots of powerful men sexually harass women. It didn’t disqualify Clinton; it shouldn’t disqualify Trump. No big deal.