If I were to tell you that this president knowingly hired someone as his national security adviser who was in secrets talks with Russia during the election, someone who promised quid pro quo with top Russian officials if Trump were elected, would you believe me? What if I told you the exact same scenario, but that the president did it unwittingly? Would you believe me? What if I told you he was warned that the perspective National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn might be susceptible to blackmail from the Russians by the acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the same woman he later fired for insubordination because she refused to uphold his Muslim ban? Would you still believe me? What if I then told you that this president didn’t read the reports on this topic? Would you believe that?
I’m throwing all these ‘what ifs’ at you because the basic story is true, but no one knows exactly what this president did or didn’t know about it. He and his aides have changed the story as is their wont, and it’s easy to believe any of the aforementioned scenarios. That’s the most disturbing thing to me: this president is so corrupt, ignorant, inept, and venal, it’s hard to discern which of the negative explanations is the correct one. My opinion is that he was told about Flynn at the time, but he either didn’t care or didn’t retain the knowledge.
Side note: I want this president to take a reading test, and I want him to do it in public. I know it’s not going to happen, but more than one person I know has wondered if this president can actually read. My response is: He’s probably functionally literate, but just barely. More to the point, he evinces no interest in reading, which automatically makes him suspect to me. But again, it’s equally possible that he can read at a high level and just doesn’t care to do so. He’s proven that he’s incurious about the world around him and anything that doesn’t reflect what he already thinks. I seriously cannot see him picking up, say, Toni Morrison and giving her a serious read.
To my questions above, I think it’s equally possible that he knew exactly what was happening and didn’t care, and that he was given all the information but either didn’t read it or didn’t retain it because it didn’t interest him. My brother asked me if this president was a rightwinger. I said I didn’t think he was especially so. My brother followed it up with, “Then why has he chosen so many rightwingers?” I was stumped for a second, but I quickly rallied. My guess is that some of the names had been given to him by his aides or Republicans in Congress, some are friends of his, some are quid pro quo from his campaign, and some are sucker-uppers who flattered this president into giving them a plum position.