The US president may ignore the rules of politics, but he cannot ignore the rule of law and the special counsel
Donald Trump reacted with his characteristic bravado and irrelevance. “This is years ago”, he tweeted to the news that his former election campaign chairman, the chairman’s deputy and a foreign policy aide face charges arising from the Trump-Russia investigation. “Why aren’t Crooked Hillary and the Dems the focus????”, he continued, before ending: “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” Well, we shall see about all of that. But this is a long process and it needs to be understood as such. It took two years from the appointment of a special counsel in the Watergate affair before Richard Nixon fell on his sword. Four elapsed between the special counsel beginning his investigation and Bill Clinton’s impeachment. This will not be the final statement by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, appointed only in May to examine the Trump-Russia allegations.
It is sensible, as all this unfolds, to keep three things in mind. First, that in the old phrase, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine. In other words, this is an orderly investigative process that has no time limits upon it. Second, remember that the initial terms of Mr Mueller’s appointment were set wide: “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”. In other words, there is much to examine and this may be only the start. And, third, remind yourself that, presidential bluster aside, this is an investigation into something exceptionally serious and unprecedented – American campaign officials perhaps colluding with a hostile foreign government in an election. In other words, and at the very least, this merits a serious approach, which is of course the opposite of Mr Trump’s childish yah-boos.