John : You said that there was no need to negotiate with Russia, but there were so many accusations and contacts with the Russians. How do you balance?
Sanders : It's very simple for me. The best candidate was the President. He had the best message, and he was working on Hillary Clinton. That is why he is a president. He did not need to, and he had no conspiracy with the Russians. Quite easy.
It seems easy. I guess this is a justifying proof that neither President Donald Trump nor anyone is his close circle with …
Wait a minute. It does not make sense. None.
Let's start with what we know.
- We know, because it was the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community that Russia sought to intervene in the elections to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, believing that a billionaire businessman was better for them.
- We know that many people in the Trump orbit, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos, former lawyer Trump Michael Cohen, have pleaded guilty to Congress or federal investigators (or both) regarding the nature of and the breadth of their contacts with the Russians during the campaign.
- We know that the former political adviser to Trump Roger Stone was charged with a lie in the Congress about his knowledge and relations with WikiLeaks, a website that served as the exchange center for emails that the Russians stole from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign head [1
- We know that in June 2016, three one of the top officials of the Trump campaign – Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manaforth – met with the Russians, a meeting at the top of Trump-batuni took on the promise of "dirt" on Clinton.
- We know that Manaforth, the head of the election campaign at that time, shared information in Russian with known names in the Russian intelligence operation.
Sanders would like to believe that all these facts are insignificant, since Donald Trump was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. What, hmm, what?
The mistake in Sanders's "simple" explanation is that she assumes that Trump's ability to act as a candidate and the ability of members of his campaign, which conspire with the Russians, are mutually exclusive. The fact that you have to choose one option or another: Or Trump was a great candidate (and therefore had no conspiracy to win), or his party was in conspiracy.
What, of course, funny. It is absolutely possible that Trump won his own merits as a candidate (and Clinton's failures as a candidate) and his campaigners signed a conspiracy with the Russians to try to improve his chances. This is the same principle that Tramp has repeatedly argued that he does not need Russians to intervene in the election because he was the best candidate. Both things can be true!
None of this can be said that we have some evidence that Trump himself had conspired with the Russians. We do not do this. However, this is the fact that he, being a good candidate, is largely irrelevant for the existence of conspiracies between his party and the Russians. Would a member of his circle know in the summer of 2016 that his good candidate intends to ensure that he won the White House? There is no chance – especially because each available indicator (poll, fundraising, message discipline, organization of the swing) suggests that it is likely to lose, and potentially lose a great deal. and would be ahead of the story, it is not entirely foolish to believe that they could consider any coordination with the Russians as yet another way to help this effort. Why not leave ammunition painless, right?
Again – and this is important – there is no evidence of an agreement between the company Trump and the Russians. Probably Muller's report will find. Maybe this will not happen. But one way or another, the fact that Donald Trump was, according to Sary Sanders, the highest candidate in the 2016 election has a roughly zero effect on the question of conspiracy. Like no.