He is simply incapable of a little deftness. During the campaign, he could have easily said, “It’s clear the Russians are behind this hacking and I’m appalled by it, but boy, is Hillary Clinton corrupt.” After the campaign, he could have said, “I support any and all investigations to get to the bottom of the Russian hacking.” Anytime over the past few months, he could have said, “If there was any collusion with Russia by people in my campaign, I knew nothing about it, and I want them exposed expeditiously and punished harshly.”
Maybe Trump doesn’t say these things because he has a cognizance of guilt and fear of exposure. But there’s a ready, innocent explanation: He never makes a concession against interest. He knew admitting the Russians were involved in the hacking during the election would make his attacks on Clinton a little more complicated. He feared that any additional focus on Russia after the election would legitimize Democratic claims that the election was stolen, and considers every insinuation about Russia an attack on his standing and honor.
So he fights back hammer and tongs, and his critics sense something rotten lurking underneath the combativeness.
Even if there’s nothing at the bottom of the Russia matter, Trump and his team are still in jeopardy. Washington scandals have a way of becoming about the handling of the scandal, and the firing of Comey may signal the beginning of that phase. Certainly that’s the hope of the Democrats. Where there’s smoke, in other words, they want to make fire.