President Trump colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 United States presidential election. The evidence for it is simple and comes in two parts.
First, when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he made the vast majority of educated, powerful Americans feel foolish for being certain that Hillary Clinton would win. And he made them feel weak when he defied cultural and political norms with impunity.
Second, it is difficult for people to admit mistakes or to admit weakness, especially when those mistakes and weaknesses are humiliating. It is easier to allocate blame somewhere else. Preferably someplace alien and scary.
It follows that Donald Trump must have colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. Russia is the scapegoat that preserves Americans’ confidence in their own intelligence and superiority.
Yet solving the psychological problem with a scapegoat fails to address the practical problem: Donald Trump is still the president. It is a cold comfort to know you are correct when, practically, you’re still a loser.
That is why President Trump must be impeached, or at least why he must not be re-elected. This will solve the practical problem for America’s cultural and political elites and for the tens of millions of Americans who follow them. These elites are bipartisan: Donald Trump is a political latecomer who enfeebled the Republican party’s leaders and hierarchy in his path to victory.
It does not matter how President Trump is impeached or how he loses re-election. Neither remedy needs to implicate Russia in order to solve the underlying problem. If the articles of impeachment relate to some incidental misconduct, or if the 2020 election depends on Big Tech companies manipulating the public’s access to information and selectively spurring voter turnout, then so be it.
That being said, foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. elections did, in fact, happen. It happens in every U.S. presidential election. It happens every time a non-citizen individual or institution participates in the U.S. democratic process. Foreign interference happened when China financed President Clinton’s reelection. It happened when foreign governments courted Barack Obama in 2008. It happens whenever foreigners exploit free speech to inveigh on politics before American audiences, such as when illegal immigrants in the United States engage in political advocacy. Or when foreign leaders praise or criticize American leaders to an American audience. It happened when foreign interests embarrassed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush through various Wikileaks campaigns over the years, regardless of whether they did so at the invitation or encouragement of any American politicians and activists.
To sincerely believe that Donald Trump was installed as U.S. president by the Russian government is to advocate war with Russia. A Manchurian presidency would be the greatest-ever violation of American sovereignty: worse than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, worse than Pearl Harbor, worse even than Britain burning down the White House in 1814.
Yet few of the Russian-interference scaremongers prescribe this. Instead, their favored remedy is to undermine the president at every turn — even when the president confronts Russia. However, this approach rewards Russian interference by inhibiting the effectiveness of U.S. government. Foreign adversaries fear a unified American government.
Instead, the best response to Russian interference would be to support President Trump and anti-Russian policies. This would punish past interference and discourage future interference. This strategy should cover areas that have been longstanding means of containing Russian power — such as promoting American energy production, U.S. missile defense, or foreign governments that buck Russia’s “sphere of influence.”
But, for the president’s critics, none of this would solve the real problem: 2016.
Lew Olowski is an attorney and formerly a clerk to Radovan Karadzic, president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Lew served under Peter Robinson, who is among the world’s premiere international criminal trial lawyers litigating war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law School.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.