HAS TRUMP LOST THE JOURNAL?

The Wall Street Journal has had it with Trump and suggests he releases everything, from phone calls to taxes

The Wall Street Journal’s edi­to­r­i­al board, a cham­pi­on of American con­ser­vatism, is fed up with their Republican pres­i­dent. The Journal pub­lished a scathing edi­to­r­i­al Tuesday crit­i­ciz­ing the way in which President Donald Trump has han­dled Russia’s elec­tion inter­fer­ence and the sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tions that have fol­lowed.

Even Donald Trump might agree that a major rea­son he won the 2016 elec­tion is that vot­ers couldn’t abide Hillary Clinton’s lega­cy of scan­dal, decep­tion and stonewalling,” the piece start­ed. “Yet on the sto­ry of Russia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion, Mr. Trump and his fam­i­ly are repeat­ing the mis­takes that doomed Mrs. Clinton.”

From “fake news” to “noth­ing-burg­er,” the Trump White House has dis­missed the Russia scan­dal as mere fan­ta­sy. But in the eyes of the Wall Street Journal, the Trump fam­i­ly can­not claim inno­cence when news report after news report con­tin­ues to refute lie after lie.

The Journal focused on the lat­est sto­ry involv­ing Donald Trump Jr. and the meet­ing he held with a Russian attor­ney dur­ing the cam­paign. The con­ser­v­a­tive paper laid out all the mis­takes the president’s son made while try­ing to man­age the cri­sis.

First Don Jr. let news of the meet­ing leak with­out get­ting ahead of it. Then the White House tried to explain it away as a “noth­ing-burg­er” that focused on adop­tions from Russia,” the edi­to­r­i­al board wrote. “When that was exposed as incom­plete, Don Jr. released his emails that showed the Russian lure about Mrs. Clinton and Don Jr. all excit­ed — ‘I love it.’”

Even if the ulti­mate truth of this tale is mere­ly that Don Jr. is a polit­i­cal dunce who took a meet­ing that went nowhere — the best case — the Trumps made it appear as if they have some­thing to hide,” the arti­cled added. “They have cre­at­ed the appear­ance of a con­spir­a­cy that on the evi­dence Don Jr. lacks the wit to con­coct. And they hand­ed their oppo­nents anoth­er of the swords that by now could arm a Roman legion.”

The paper not­ed that the pres­i­dent can­not just excul­pate him­self in the court of pub­lic opin­ion. Congressional com­mit­tees and a spe­cial coun­sel have been con­duct­ing their own inves­ti­ga­tions.

Everything that is poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing to the Trumps will come out, one way or anoth­er. Everything,” the board wrote. “Denouncing leaks as ‘fake news’ won’t wash as a counter-strat­e­gy beyond the President’s base, as Mr. Trump’s lat­est 36% approval rat­ing shows.”

The Journal then offered a sug­ges­tion that pres­i­dent could only laugh at in response.

Release every­thing to the pub­lic ahead of the inevitable leaks,” the board wrote. “Disclose every detail that might be rel­e­vant to the Russian inves­ti­ga­tions. That means every meet­ing with any Russian or any American with Russian busi­ness ties. Every phone call or email. And every Trump busi­ness rela­tion­ship with Russians going back years. This should include every rel­e­vant part of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, which the President will resist but Mr. Mueller is sure to seek any­way.”

The edi­to­r­i­al board argued that full, imme­di­ate dis­clo­sure would cause less dam­age than the slow drip of reports com­ing from the media.

If there real­ly is noth­ing to the Russia col­lu­sion alle­ga­tions, trans­paren­cy will prove it. Americans will give Mr. Trump cred­it for trust­ing their abil­i­ty to make a fair judg­ment. Pre-emp­tive dis­clo­sure is the only chance to con­tain the polit­i­cal harm from future rev­e­la­tions,” the arti­cle said.

The Journal warned that if Trump’s approval rat­ing stays below 40 per­cent, then all Republicans will suf­fer the con­se­quences, like­ly lead­ing to a win for Democrats in the House, which would only lead to more intense inves­ti­ga­tions.

Impeachment will be a con­stant under­cur­rent if not an active threat. His sup­port­ers will become demor­al­ized,” the board pre­dict­ed.

Mr. Trump some­how seems to believe that his out­size per­son­al­i­ty and social-media fol­low­ing make him larg­er than the Presidency. He’s wrong. He and his fam­i­ly seem obliv­i­ous to the bru­tal real­i­ties of Washington pol­i­tics. Those real­i­ties will destroy Mr. Trump, his fam­i­ly and their busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion unless they change their strat­e­gy toward the Russia probe. They don’t have much more time to do it,” the Journal con­clud­ed.
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