Competing Show Trials
Ever since Donald Trump’s election, the 24-hour news cycle has been saturated with Russia. The undying flame was fanned again this week by revelations that Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, profited by supporting a pro-Russia Ukrainian government while working for a company with substantial ties to the Democrat Party (including Hillary’s former campaign chair). It is likely that Manafort violated inconsistently-enforced federal registration laws during this period. It was also discovered that a low-level staffer in the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, had been in contact with Russians and lied about it.
In response to these developments, conservative media resurrected a story that ties donations to the Clinton Foundation to policies which gave Russia control over a substantial proportion of U.S. uranium mining capacity. Left-leaning media quickly responded that the scandal was a distraction, because the deal had no clear ties to Hillary Clinton herself. That is true. But such a defense severely undermines the current case against Trump, where no clear ties exist either.