Stop waiting for the Trump/Russia smoking gun

I suspect there’s more to the daydreaming on both sides than mere partisan convenience. Imagining that some capital-F Fact can be irrefutably persuasive to either the criminal justice system or the public is an almost touching expression of rose-colored nostalgia for an agreed-upon set of national mores. Those who watched more than about 30 minutes of Wednesday’s spectacle can testify to the wishfulness of such thinking. With the exception of odd legislative ducks such as the libertarian Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Democrats and Republicans delivered telegrams from hermetically separated universes of fact, logic and interpretation.

But the real lure of a magic bullet is that it would let politician and voter wriggle off the hook. If our bizarre situation is all just a Deep State plot, or a criminal conspiracy involving a foreign adversary methodically exposed by an expert prosecutor, then we don’t have to do any heavy thinking about how we got here in the first place.

America has suffered — is suffering — a collective political trauma, in the midst of a globe-straddling mini-revolt against the post-World War II consensus governing how real democracies behave.