Colorado Editorials

The Colorado Springs Gazette: Trump’s collusion claims could signal future trouble for the GOP

Author: The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board - August 11, 2018 - Updated: August 11, 2018

There’s a common rhetorical tactic that can be pretty handy in the entertainment business — particularly in detective and mystery novels. There, a character or other plot device is inserted to throw readers off the trail of the real culprit or issue at hand. It’s a distraction, a smokescreen, that makes the reveal at the end all the more thrilling.

This tact is called a red herring, and it’s also rather handy in debates, especially in the political arena.

Last week, President Donald Trump and two of his personal lawyers spouted to the media that collusion by the presidential campaign office with a foreign power is not a crime, spawning numerous discussions, columns and editorials, including this one. Some are merely mocking, some are scathing, and others make a fair and honest attempt to try to decipher their cryptic words.

“What could they mean?” is one question being asked. And also, “how dumb do they think we are?” There’s not a definition for collusion that doesn’t include the word “illegal.”

However ludicrous the claim might seem, one has to admit that it’s a clever tactic. Get people asking whether collusion is illegal and get them to stop asking whether it happened. But it makes one wonder. Is the president scared?

A red herring, when used deliberately, is a helpful tool for concealment, used when a certain party has something to hide.President Trump’s rhetoric has been nothing if not predictable, with his incessant claims that collusion never happened and the Mueller probe is nothing but a “rigged witch hunt.” But now, he seems to have taken a step back, if that were possible.

Earlier, Trump said, there was no collusion and no crime, and the investigation was “a total hoax” fueled by angry Democrats. Now, there could be some collusion, but if there is, it’s important to know that it’s not a big deal. Seems like we’re just one step shy of a presidential confession.

The past week has been fraught with troubles for Trump and his lawyers. Just a few days ago, the president admitted that a 2016 meeting with Russian officials at Trump Tower was orchestrated specifically to gather harmful information about Hillary Clinton. And now, Paul Manafort’s trial has practically yielded a confession that Trump’s former campaign manager committed bank and tax fraud — a confession dangerously close to indicating ties with Russian diplomats.

All this, mixed with Trump’s apparent change of tact, paints an interesting picture, the likes of which might signal further trouble for the president as Mueller’s probe draws closer to its end.

The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board