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June 2012
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CIRCUS Trump-Russia theory amusing but unlikely


President Donald Trump foolishly poured gasoline on a dying fire with his inept dismissal last week of FBI Director James Comey.

Even reliably liberal columnist Susan Estrich conceded in a sharply worded column in Monday's Paducah Sun that Comey deserved his fate. But she and most of the Washington media continue to make the case that Trump didn't fire Comey for the right reasons; rather, they contend it is an effort to impede an FBI investigation into whether Trump is linked to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

We continue to believe this Trump-Russia collusion theory that so excites the media is a goofy idea. To us it is implausible. If you have not already done so, take a breath and think this one through.

Suppose for the moment one accepts the idea that Russia, and even Vladimir Putin himself, was involved in the hacking of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's email and subsequent leaking of the material to WikiLeaks. What would have been Putin's goal? What, really, might he have expected to accomplish?

To elect Donald Trump? We doubt it. We would wager Putin was as stunned as the rest of the world when Trump won the election.

Rather the objective of the Russians, if they were indeed involved in this, would have been to see the presumptive victor, Hillary Clinton, take office with minimal support; to assure she took the helm as an unpopular president of a divided and impotent nation.

But in truth the Podesta emails just were not particularly damaging to Clinton. There were some embarrassing revelations about her campaign minions -- ill-considered comments never intended to be publicized -- but nothing that moved the needle in a material way.

In the end Clinton lost because of Comey. Democrats say it is because the now-former director raised 11th-hour doubts about whether she might be indicted. But for many people it was not that; rather, it was Comey's short-circuiting of the prosecution of Clinton. Many saw this as a case of a person of wealth and privilege escaping a fate that surely would befall an average citizen.

The politically driven Trump-Putin collusion theory that emerged after Trump's victory and which has now been fully embraced by the Washington media is fantastically entertaining. It has sold many newspapers and been a TV ratings driver.

But the idea of Trump getting on the phone with Putin and saying, "Hey Vlad, I've got this idea," is just silly. First, it would never have worked. Second, Trump is neither smart enough to come up with it nor disciplined enough to pull it off.

Trump often reminds us of the lead character in the 1979 movie "Being there." The film is about a simpleton whose infantile observations are mistaken by the masses for profound insights, leading him to ever-greater positions of influence and power.

Truth can be stranger than fiction, and this is the president we have. He gives us all plenty to worry about. But conspiring with the Russians to somehow steal an election is well beyond his skill level.

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