Did President Trump and/or members of his campaign actively collude with Russian intelligence services to ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 election? Is Trump’s apparent desire to align the U.S. more closely with Russia and pursue other policies favored by Vladimir Putin a product of strategic calculation or a result of blackmail or other forms of manipulation by the Kremlin? I don’t know the answer to these questions, and neither do you. But what we can know is that the trustworthiness of the individuals and institutions that could answer them has been severely compromised by their explicit displays of partisanship over the past few weeks.
Michael Flynn may have been an extremist, an atrocious manager, and a bit of a loon, but he was also a man who aimed to drastically reform the intelligence services. And it was leaks from the intelligence services that brought him down.
There are countless reasons to think Jeff Sessions will make a bad attorney general, and he may well have made a mistake in failing to disclose at his confirmation hearings what appears to have been two fairly routine meetings with the Russian ambassador. But was it really a coincidence that news of those meetings leaked just one day after the most politically effective speech of Trump’s early (and thus far very rocky) presidency?