This evening the news broke that when Donald Trump met with the Russians in the Oval Office in early 2017, he told the Russians that he didn’t mind their ongoing interference in U.S. elections. This is pretty clearly going to finish Trump off, both because it confirms everything we thought we knew about Trump and Russia, and also because it fits right in line with Trump’s recent attempt at getting Ukraine to help him rig the 2020 election. But Trump isn’t the only one going down over this.
It’s since been largely forgotten, but it was a big scandal at the time: shortly after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with the Russians, it was reported that he had told them that he’d fired FBI Director James Comey specifically to shut down the Trump-Russia investigation. Trump’s National Security Adviser at the time, General H.R. McMaster, told the television cameras that he was in the meeting, and that everything Trump said during the meeting was “wholly appropriate.”
At the time, we all pretty much knew McMaster was lying. He was brand new to the job – having been picked after Donald Trump’s original National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been fired – and he probably didn’t feel like he had a choice. Nonetheless, McMaster lied. Now we know that he didn’t just lie to the nation about Trump talking to the Russians about the Comey firing, he lied to the nation about Trump having told the Russians he was fine with election meddling.
This alone doesn’t prove that H.R. McMaster was involved in the conspiracy to conceal the records of the meeting. And it’s not against the law to lie to the media. But this is going to destroy McMaster’s reputation, because now everyone will know that he witnessed Trump committing a form of treason, and he could have sounded the alarm instead of covering for Trump. The sudden downfall of McMaster is a sign of just how ugly this is going to get for everyone in Trump’s orbit, past and present.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report