Like a screaming clown leaping out of a dark alley with an axe, the Russia probe came shrieking at the White House to kick off Halloween week. And Team Trump has reason to be afraid.
According to court records, for the first time we now have a person directly tied to the Trump campaign admitting he was communicating with people he believed were tied to the Russians – they were discussing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton – and officials say George Papadopoulos has admitted lying about it to federal agents. In one savage swipe, this revelation from special counsel Robert Mueller has shredded President Trump’s repeated assertion that allegations of collusion are nothing but a “hoax” and that the investigation is a “witch hunt.”
Of course, the White House is not admitting that. When press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders met with the media, she pushed back like a teen camper trying to keep a zombie out of the cabin. She insisted the news “…has nothing to do with the president – nothing to do with the president’s campaign…” That is just whistling through the graveyard.
Sure, this news and the indictment of a former campaign manager and his colleague over other matters, which they deny, do not directly implicate President Trump. No one has yet proven he knew about, encouraged or tolerated any illicit contact with the Russians. And for all the glee among Democrats over these latest revelations, unless such a link is established to the Oval Office, Trump could see a blood bath around him – and yet firmly hold onto his position. I’ve said it before: Unseating a president is remarkably difficult, even if many unseemly or even illegal acts are discovered close to his chair.
But the events we’ve seen this week do matter, if only because they indicate – after months of curiosity and waiting – the investigation is relentlessly marching forward, and it is producing results. Maybe they are small now, but that’s how big things grow in that world. They start as a rattling window, a creaking floor or a thickening in the darkness – then suddenly they are all fangs and howling fury.