Howie Kurtz: Trump Covering Up Russia Stuff Is OK…If There’s No Russia Stuff


In case you hadn’t noticed, the story of possible Russian collusion from Donald Trump‘s campaign and administration has been a big one everywhere in the media… except for Fox News. At Fox, they’ve preferred to talk about how that isn’t a story, giving various reasons and even trying to turn other non-stories into stories in the process. (Notably, that led to a firestorm and a retraction on one occasion.)

Today, though, Fox News’ top media reporter framed the Russia conversation in a new and even more convoluted way.

Howard Kurtz wrote that there is no Russia story, so it’s totally fine that evidence keeps emerging that suggests Trump has been trying to shut down investigations into it all. Here, look at his words:

If you stop and think about it, the flood of leaks to the press over the last 10 days have mainly involved allegations and suggestions of the president trying to derail the investigation. That’s pretty much been the narrative since he fired Jim Comey.

As [Byron York] writes, “More and more, day after day, Trump’s adversaries believe that, when it comes to bringing down the president, it might not matter if collusion occurred or not. A cover-up would be enough to do the job.”

This sounds rather counterintuitive. Doesn’t there have to be an underlying crime?

In legal terms, no. Lots of people are prosecuted for obstruction of  justice, or lying to investigators, regardless of whether they committed any other crime.

Politically, he said, Trump can rely on a failure to document any collusion. Ultimately, “‘Pushing back’ may not look good, but also wouldn’t necessarily be illegal.”

This framework, then, pre-positions Trump’s cover-ups as some sort of vindication and suggests that only active collusion is a crime. That’s not how this works. That’s not what the American people want to see.

The reason the story of the possible Russian collusion has taken off is that citizens are worried about it. No amount of mental gymnastics justifying Trump’s attempt to curtain investigations will put them at ease.

UPDATE 12:35 PM ET: Kurtz responded to this piece via a series of tweets, stating that his column was “distorted.”

[image: screengrab]

Lindsey: Twitter. Facebook.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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