Show Me the Motive

Over the many months since he first cried "collusion" before a camera, one thing Adam Schiff and his fellow Democrats have never done – or conveniently avoided – is explain just what happened or provide any substantive proof or evidence of specifically what was done (or promised) during the campaign and election – and why.  In a word, what was President Trump's motive for colluding with the Russians?  What did the Russians stand to gain from collusion with Donald Trump?

All of us have watched enough reruns of the long-running TV series Law & Order to know that District Attorney Jack McCoy and TV's NYPD detectives always tried to establish the motive for a crime.  Motive goes a long way to explain "who done it" and, more importantly, why.  With Russia, Jack and the detectives would be at a loss to make a case, because there is no persuasive explanation for collusion that comports with the facts, the events, and reason.

So far, no one – let alone Congressman Schiff – among all those seeking to mortally wound President Trump politically with their collusion allegations has yet provided the American public a convincing rationale for why the Russians would want a President Trump instead of a President Clinton.  Russia could have obtained anything it wanted – more easily and at less cost – from a more pliable, soft, internationalist President Hillary Clinton.  In reality, every autocrat, dictator, and warlord around the world would have wanted a more malleable President Clinton over the nationalistic and assertive President Trump, who has openly adopted a more aggressive "America first" leadership approach to foreign and defense policy.

That question is now extra-compelling, given the Trump administration's more uncompromising policy vis-à-vis Russia, which has, in the Trump administration's first year, felt the consequences of a more assertive United States.  In November, the U.S. approved the $10.5-billion sale of Patriot anti-missile systems to NATO ally Poland in the face of perceived Russian aggression.  In December, the U.S. authorized the transfer of lethal anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to help that nation fight off Russian-backed separatists.  U.S. troop presence in Eastern Europe has increased over Obama-era levels to bolster European defenses against Russia, and the U.S. recently imposed monetary sanctions targeting bad individual Russian actors and companies instead of sanctioning that nation's sovereign debt.

On the other hand, Russia remembered (likely fondly) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the Obama administration.  There was that inane "reset button" to set the tone.  The U.S. obliged the Kremlin by canceling missile defense systems for Central Europe.  How could Moscow forget the Obama administration's fuzzy line in the sand over Syrian chemical weapons and actions?  President Putin surely approved of Obama's concessions to Iran on the nuclear deal, and it was Obama who notably told former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Vladimir Putin should give him more "space" and that "after my election, I have more flexibility."  Mr. Putin surveyed the Hillary Clinton of Benghazi infamy.  For that matter, Mrs. Clinton herself "guided" the Clinton Foundation to help arrange the sale of a large uranium concern to Russian interests in exchange for donations to her foundation.

So why would Russia want a President Trump when actual events suggest that it could have achieved its objectives much more easily with Hillary in office, whose actions, predilections, and temperament the Russians had observed and benefited from while she was Obama's secretary of state?

Let's turn the tables.  If one wants "motive," all Democrats may have to do is find a mirror.  Americans did not hear the words "Russia" or "collusion" in earnest until shortly after the "impossible" dawned on the post-election morning of Wednesday, November 9.  The Democrat establishment needed an explanation – an excuse – for the election results to take the spotlight off their candidate's considerable shortcomings.  One suspects that the Democrats surmised that if they kept shouting "collusion" long and loud enough, they could also hang it like a legal and political millstone around the new administration's neck to keep it pinned down, disjointed, and on guard for some time.  Add a fawning press and mass media, ostensibly not at all curious about what had actually happened, along with a small cadre of hyper-partisan government apparatchiks not inhibited by our laws, and you have the makings of guerrilla war against a president Democrats loathe.

One last – but not small – related point.  If Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election, there was only one person ultimately responsible for the defense and security of this nation in his role as "commander-in-chief," and his name was Barack Obama.  If there was determined organized foreign interference, he ultimately failed in his oath-sworn responsibility to keep the nation's democratic processes secure and free from that interference.

For the American public, it is long past time for Congressman Schiff to make the Democrats' case.  Show us the motive.  And after spending this much time casting collusion aspersions, you'd best "go big or go home."

Chris J. Krisinger (colonel, USAF ret.) writes on governance and national security topics.  He lives in Burke, Virginia.