Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Standing Around the Poker Table


No special prosecutor to investigate the Clintons?

It must be true.  After all, the NY Times implies as much by offering this bold header yesterday: Donald Trump Drops Threat of New Hillary Clinton Investigation. We all know how such a header reads to the average NY Times subscriber.  And how just about anyone would read it.  And we all know the NY Times doesn't allow political opinion to influence its reporting, despite a recent mea culpa and pledge to do honest reporting in the future.

So what does the header mean?  Let's see what Trump said, according to the Times.  Here's the money line:
I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't. (snip)  She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all.  The campaign was vicious.
Okay, I see what Trump said, but where's the part about dropping any ongoing investigation or refusing to allow an investigation into the email issue or the Clinton Foundation in the future?  After all, that's what the header implies and the article itself basically claims.

Where does Trump say he will block any effort to pursue justice if new information is found by his DOJ or FBI? Trump's statement doesn't address that question.  According to the Times, Trump merely states, more or less, that he hates to see people hurting, even if their last name is Clinton, and that he doesn't plan a vindictive attack against them based on unsubstantiated claims.  The Times, in its carefully-worded header and article, does not deny that those questions or claims might be valid and worth investigating, but they would have the reader think the questions have been foreclosed upon by Trump himself.  Maybe they are.  Maybe they aren't.  I don't see where Trump's statement leans one way or the other.  What am I missing?

You can go to the link above to read the entire article for yourself.  It's mostly an attempt by the Times to put words into Trump's mouth that he did not utter, by means of their interpretation of what they think he might have meant, or even what they hope he meant.  By doing so, they perhaps aimed to draw him out further, tease him into telling more and perhaps box him in politically based on his own words.  They have not yet been able to do so.  But that doesn't mean they won't try again.

Jeff Sessions soon will be our Attorney General.  He will have some say into what comes next.  I don't think Jeff Sessions is any more vindictive than Donald Trump.  But Sessions has a job to do.  If his attorneys or the FBI thinks the Clintons require further scrutiny, it will be Sessions' job to judge the merits of that scrutiny.  Then again, Congress is not done with the email and Clinton Foundation issues, either.  If there's no there, there, it will come to nothing beyond a lot of accusations by Republicans and complaints among Democrats, all on the taxpayer's dime.  But if there is a there, there, I find nothing in Trump's remarks that indicates he will prevent or oppose further investigation, wherever the facts may lead.

Meanwhile, the Times can live with its fantasies.  And with squaring those fantasies with the pledge to do honest political reporting.  We're still in the presidential transition period. Lots of people have skin in the game.  Trump is playing poker with Obama, the Clintons, Congressional Democrats and certain Republicans.  It's game on for all of them.  Trump's not one to show his hand.  Even to the Times, and especially not to others at the table.  He likes winning too much. And he's been across the table with many shrewd businessmen around the world who also are good at high-stakes poker. He's about the art of the deal.  Those of us standing around the table are best advised to be patient and watch the hand play out.

My money's on Trump.