Thursday, April 25, 2019

The personal cost of the Trump-Russia investigation

Byron York April 23, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is over, but the aftereffects of the Trump-Russia affair live on. One such aftereffect is the reluctance of some important figures in the 2016 campaign to speak out, for fear of continued legal entanglements.

Take J.D. Gordon, who served as the Trump campaign's director of national security. Never accused of any wrongdoing, he played a central role in one of the most controversial and least understood episodes of the Trump-Russia matter: the approval of the 2016 GOP platform at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On July 18, 2016, the Washington Post published a story headlined, "Trump campaign guts GOP's anti-Russia stance on Ukraine."……..the piece reported that the campaign, acting contrary to the views of "almost all Republican foreign policy leaders," killed a proposal that the United States provide lethal aid to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia……..It got worse. As a media frenzy built, Trump opponents cited the platform as Exhibit A in their case that the Trump campaign and Russia conspired to influence the 2016 election. As the tale went, the Russians helped Trump, he was in their debt, and he paid them back by supporting weakened U.S. policy toward Ukraine.

It was all entirely wrong. If anyone bothered to look into the facts — almost no one did — they would have discovered that the original draft of the GOP platform was quite strong on Russia and Ukraine. Not a word of it was removed. Then a single delegate proposed an amendment that would have added promises of tougher U.S. sanctions on Russia, greater military coordination with NATO, and the provision of "lethal defensive weapons" to Ukraine's armed forces. The revised amendment was accepted, and the final platform was tougher on Russia and Ukraine than the original platform draft. It was not "gutted." It was strengthened……..Nevertheless, the media and Democrats ran with the opposite story……….

Gordon was called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He was called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. He was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was called to testify, three times, before Mueller. Again: He was never accused of any wrongdoing. But each time, Gordon had to hire a lawyer. He won't reveal precisely how big his legal bills were, but says they were in "five figures." His communications business took a big hit. ………….Now, Gordon should be able to move on. But he cannot.........To Read More...

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