President Trump is becoming more nervous of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by the day, continuing to ride on his “no collusion” argument. But former presidential candidate Al Gore has already provided a great historical example of how a campaign actually holds up to that statement.
In September of 2000, the Gore campaign received stolen materials from the George W. Bush campaign intended to help the latter prepare for debates with the former Vice President. former Congressman Tom Downey (D-New York) was serving as the stand-in for Bush during Gore’s debate prep, and when he received the stolen materials, he handed them over to his lawyer, who in turn handed them over to the FBI. According to the New York Times, Downey even recused himself from further mock debates with Gore to ensure the Democrat didn’t have an unfair advantage:
The Gore campaign was eager to dissociate itself quickly from the incident. After [Downey’s lawyer] called the F.B.I., campaign officials alerted The Associated Press that the packet had arrived and provided a detailed time line of Mr. Downey’s actions.
Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for Mr. Gore, said of Mr. Downey: ”He’s being very careful and very prudent. He’s handled this exactly right. No one can raise any questions about how it’s being handled. What to make of it, I don’t know.”
Even though it could be argued that Gore may have won the 2000 presidential election and altered the course of American history had he been better prepared for his debates with then-Governor George W. Bush, the Gore campaign’s actions are a stark contrast from the behavior exhibited by top Trump campaign officials in the lead-up to the now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower in September of 2016.
As has now been widely reported, President Trump was aware of the meeting between his campaign’s most senior officials — including Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner — and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to his longtime lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen.
Curiously, the argument from Trump’s legal defense team appears to be morphing from “no collusion” to “collusion isn’t a crime.” Given the changing arguments, it will get increasingly harder for Trump to convincingly make his “no collusion” argument if he’s ever interviewed by Mueller’s prosecutors.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.