President Trump’s claim of vindication by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report depends on some creative thinking. The president, it seems, is not guilty of conspiracy with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. He is only guilty of wishing really, really hard for Russian help and having his fondest desire miraculously granted. On July 27, 2016, Trump made a public plea to the Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. “Within approximately five hours of Trump’s statement,” the Mueller report reveals, “GRU [Russian intelligence] officers targeted for the first time Clinton’s personal office.”
This, evidently, doesn’t qualify as conspiracy. But can it really be a coincidence? Maybe it was the hand of Providence. Or an answer to Franklin Graham’s prayers. Whatever the non-collusive reason, Trump is clearly a lucky, lucky man.
What is less clear is how we are to accept a detailed, damning, 448-page moral and political indictment as good news for Trump and his administration. “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” according to the report.