I’ve been around a lot of campaigns and know it’s not unusual to have representatives from foreign countries be interested in making themselves known to campaign staff. In my experience, these contacts are mostly bothersome wastes of time. No matter how you spin it, dealing with foreigners just doesn’t get your candidate any votes. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what a campaign would want to talk with a foreign government about or how doing so would serve the campaign’s interests.
So, let’s allow our imaginations to run wild for a moment and ask what nefarious reasons might a campaign have for being chatty with a foreign government.
First, a campaign might be offered money by a foreign government — in this case, Russia or some entity acting on Russia’s behalf. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the Trump campaign received any contributions from the Russian government or related entities. But assuming there was, how would a campaign even accept and spend the money? Plus, if you ask any campaign professional, they’ll tell you that accepting foreign donations is a colossal violation of federal law that would surely sink the campaign and result in jail time. No one is willing to take that risk.
Perhaps a campaign would be interested in receiving intelligence on its opponent from a foreign government. This suggestion seems odd in relation to Russia, given what was already being dumped by WikiLeaks. Quite frankly, I’m not sure the information a foreign government could offer would even be useful. It’s not like campaigns need more polling data or rumors about the candidates to surface. Both are always in ready supply anyway — nevermind the endless parades of phonies and parasites who constantly peddle silver bullets to campaigns. Everybody knows to stay clear of the weirdos.
The only remaining possibility is that a campaign hand could have selfish motivations for befriending a foreign government in hopes of advancing his own post-campaign endeavors. However, that would just be a one-off, rogue element who was trying to line his own pockets. It certainly wouldn’t require a federal case to be brought against the sitting president’s entire campaign. And again, there is no evidence that this happened, and I don’t see what the crime would be even if it had.
This brings us to the latest “revelation.” Former senator and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually had two previous encounters with the Russian ambassador in question. I say “encounters” because one was simply a courtesy handshake on the sidelines of the widely attended GOP convention in August and the other at a meeting in the then-senator’s D.C. office one month later. But why should any of that matter? Does anybody really think Sessions had a single meeting five months ago to somehow collude with the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign? Or, is it more likely that a sitting senator engaged in legitimate dialogue with the ambassador of a major world power? There’s a huge appetite to move this story and the Democrats and liberal media are in sync. Republicans should not overreact or take the bait.
Again, I can’t understand why a campaign would expend much effort dealing with a foreign government. And in the case of the Trump campaign, it’s become apparently clear that they didn’t. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issued a statement concluding his committee hasn’t found any evidence of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) shared the same sentiment when he plainly said that members of Congress “have seen no evidence from any of [the] ongoing investigations that anybody in the Trump campaign or the Trump team was involved in … [or] collud[ed] with the Russians to meddle in the election.”
It seems appropriate for the FBI and congressional committees to investigate the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. But anything else is just fishing or manipulated distractions aimed at creating many months worth of leaks, innuendo and, dare I say, opportunities for fake news.