Thursday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow said there was still a “possibility” President Donald Trump and his campaign were innocent of accusations of being in cahoots with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign and that this may not take down the Trump presidency.
If that is indeed the case, Maddow urged her viewers not to let their guards down against public corruption, especially as there are any other numbers of storylines to pursue while the Trump-Russia saga dominates the news coverage.
Partial transcript as follows:
The news today that we may get testimony in exchange for immunity from fired National Security Advisor Mike Flynn who is in a position potentially to know more about the scandal than anybody else, that news today revs this scandal up into higher gear that we didn’t even know we had in our national transmission, and you know, we will — we here at the show and I think on this network, we will cover this as aggressively as anybody. I think it’s been fair to say we have been as aggressive as anybody on this story already and that will remain the case.
But I want to just plant this flag here — there remains the possibility that the president and his campaign are innocent. There remains the possibility that the president and his campaign are not incident — not innocent, but that this scandal does not prove to be an existential presidency-ending conflagration, even if they are found to have committed very bad acts. There remains the possibility that at the end of this, even if these investigations continue to go as badly as they have for the president thus far, there remains the possibility that the end of all of it, he’s still president and then for the sake of our democracy, we have to figure out how we are going to regain our in tolerance for corruption and scandal and throwing our American ethical and political norms out the window.
One of the consequences already of the Russia attack and it’s aftermath is that what otherwise would be presidency ending scandals in any presidential administration are like, whoo page 15, if you get there, man. I mean, when all this is over and who knows how it ends, if we are ever to regain our previous standing as a liberal democracy, right, there’s going to have to be consequences for, you know, the Carl Icahn stuff for the lying to the Senate stuff, for the personal ethics stuff, for the nepotism. Even for the political radicalism that we now see is definitely no big deal because at least it’s not treason.
Whether or not the Russia scandal brings down this presidency and it might, the point of the Russia attack was to knock America down a few pegs in the eyes of the world. They win and we lose if the outcome of all of this — regardless of this presidency — is that we become a country that lets all this other stuff slide, right, we’re even rank corruption becomes normal or too small potatoes for us to worry about it. We cannot let ourselves be the American generation where the standard slipped that badly, right, where that happened. At some point, we’re going to have to get back to zero in terms of being able to be shocked by corruption, nepotism and crime in government. We’re going to have to get back to zero when it’s all done.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor