A quick thought on Andy’s excellent and informative article. About the statement on the 9 June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a gang of Russians led by Putin lackey Natalia Veselnitskaya, Andy writes:

“The statement was untrue and ill-considered. Worse, it conflicted with another misleading version of the Trump Tower meeting that the president’s legal team simultaneously provided to a different media outlet, Circa. As the Times report correctly asserts, both versions sought to conceal the true purpose of the Trump Tower meeting, namely: to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton from Russian-government sources.”

It is the case, as Andy writes, that “it is not a crime to lie to journalists.” And that to me points to the basic failure of our civic culture in this and many related matters. If we had a healthier civic culture, it would not require a federal investigation with the threat of prosecution to impose sanctions on the president for brazenly lying to the press — and, through them, to the people. In a healthier civic culture, those sanctions would be imposed by the people themselves democratically, and possibly through the parties and other political organs. But we have a civic culture marked by what Julia Azari of Vox pithily describes as “weak parties and strong partisanship,” something close to the opposite of what one would want.