Everybody is moving the goalposts now; everybody is changing standards for behavior in order to promulgate their agenda.
In an era in which accusations of “fake news” predominate, in which politicians lie with abandon, safe in the knowledge that their base will support them no matter their lies, it’s harder and harder to remember what exactly people allege and when they’re shifting those allegations to meet the evidence; what behavior people were decrying a moment ago when they’ve begun engaging in such behavior themselves.
But let’s give it a whirl.
1. No, Trump Wasn’t Vindicated On Wiretapping. On Wednesday evening, in the wake of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaking with the press about claims that the intelligence community has been gathering information on Trump transition team members, Trump took to Twitter to retweet the living embodiment of his interior monologue, Bill Mitchell:
Trump said that Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower. That’s what he said. That’s what he doubled down on. There were those of us pointing out at the time, like Mark Levin and John Nolte, that there were a number of media reports stating that the Obama administration had sought FISA warrants targeting Trump associates; Trump should have broadened his critique to say that, and he’d be on solid ground. He didn’t. And then, after the intelligence community said that no FISA warrants existed directed at Team Trump, denying those media reports, that didn’t stop Trump – he activated Sean Spicer to claim that perhaps the British intelligence services had worked with Obama to wiretap him. This was stupid. It was doubling down on stupid. And no, nothing Nunes said changed the underlying facts: Team Trump got caught up in incidental collection of information. That’s not the same thing as accusing the intelligence community of violating law in order to target Trump and company.
2. Yes, Leaking Is Bad – Even When Your Side Is Doing It. With that said, Nunes did reveal that intelligence information on Team Trump had been widely disseminated for no apparent reason. That sort of dissemination was purposeful, and leaks of that information were illegal. The Left seems utterly unconcerned with leaks of information about calls involving Mike Flynn, for example; that’s absurd, particularly given that the Left went insane over leaks of information from associates of Hillary Clinton. And those leaks were coming from people outside the United States, not from domestic intelligence agencies.
3. No, Democrats Haven’t Been Vindicated On Trump-Russia Connections. Scott Adams, a Trump fan, hits this one right on the head:
CNN’s report tonight is chock full of holes. The allegations may yet prove true – perhaps there was coordination between Team Trump and the Russians during the campaign. But we’ve yet to see anything beyond rumors of it.
4. No, Coordinating An Investigation With The People Under Investigation Isn’t Okay – Even When Your Side Is Doing It. Remember when Republicans cried bloody murder over Attorney General Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac, suggesting – rightly – that this created a significant appearance of impropriety at a time when the Department of Justice and FBI were looking into Hillary Clinton’s email activities? Now, Rep. Nunes has reportedly coordinated with the White House on the House Intelligence Committee’s information gathering regarding both leaks from the intelligence community and Trump-Russia coordination. That would be okay if the other members of the Intelligence Committee knew about it – apparently, they didn’t. It’s not out of line for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to complain that information prepared for the Intelligence Committee should have been seen by the Intelligence Committee before being conveyed to Trump.
Everybody needs to take a breath and a step back. Here are the facts: there’s smoke but no fire on any front thus far – except with regard to intelligence community leaks, where there’s obvious fire. Other than that, we ought to remember that facts remain facts, and goalpost-shifting remains dishonest for both sides.