- - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

In the war of claims and counterclaims that besiege our political world, a few simple questions cut through the fog:

If President Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director Jim Comey, why did he not only allow the FBI investigation of him to continue but said in his interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that he realized that by firing Mr. Comey, he was probably prolonging the FBI investigation? And why, when citing Mr. Trump’s comments during the Holt interview as the chief reason he opened an FBI counterintelligence investigation of Mr. Trump, did Andrew McCabe conveniently omit in his book that part of the interview when Mr. Trump said he was probably prolonging the investigation?

If the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, why did campaign manager Paul Manafort reject a March 2016 proposal by campaign aide George Papadopoulos that the campaign meet with Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin, “to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” according to emails turned over by the White House to congressional committees, as reported in an Aug. 14, 2017, Washington Post story?

Manafort went further by telling his deputy Rick Gates, “We need someone to communicate that DT [Donald Trump] is not doing these trips.” Mr. Gates agreed and told him he would make sure that no one in the campaign responds to such a proposal.

If Mr. Trump is a pawn of Mr. Putin because the Russian leader has something on him, as Mr. Comey has suggested, why has he taken more than a dozen actions against Russia and Mr. Putin, including imposing sanctions on Mr. Putin cronies, sending missiles into Syria, demanding that NATO countries increase defense spending, criticizing Germany’s plans to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Russia and increasing U.S. oil and gas production, thereby cutting into Russia’s revenue from oil and gas exportation?

If Mr. Trump is a racist, why did he date Kara Young, a black model, whom Mr. Trump saw for almost two years before he met future wife Melania Knauss? And why did Mr. Trump make a point of welcoming blacks and Jews into his Palm Beach club Mar-a-Lago when several other Palm Beach clubs to this day discriminate against minorities?

If President Obama paved the way for the booming Trump economy, why did growth in quarterly gross domestic product actually slow near the end of the Obama presidency? And why have black, Hispanic and female unemployment levels reached the lowest levels going back decades under multiple presidents? In fact, Mr. Obama is the only president since records were first kept under the administration of Herbert Hoover to fail to achieve annual GDP growth of 3 percent or more.

If the FBI wiretapped the Trump campaign, why did the surveillance of Carter Page, who attended one Trump advisory board meeting and was the target of the surveillance in question, not start until after Mr. Page had left the campaign in October 2016? And if the FBI improperly wiretapped him, why did Mr. Page call himself in a 2013 letter “an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin?”

If Mr. Trump’s plans to build a barrier along the southern border are “an immorality,” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, why did not only Mrs. Pelosi but Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer all vote to authorize construction of security fencing along the southern border when they were in Congress?

If illegal immigrants streaming into the United States along the southern border do not constitute an invasion, why did Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum in a news conference call the caravans heading to the United States from Central America an “avalanche” and a “tsunami” that includes “pot smokers, bums and bad people?”

If former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were out to defeat Mr. Trump, as their private text messages deplorably seem to indicate, why did they push for “far more aggressive efforts” to investigate Hillary Clinton, including use of grand juries and search warrants, according to FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report? And why did Mr. Strzok tell Ms. Page he did not want to work on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Mr. Trump because Mr. Strzok believed there was no “there there?”

If Mr. Trump does not want to hear differing views, why does he watch cable news shows all day, including on CNN and MSNBC?

If Mr. Trump is a misogynist, why did Barbara Res, whom Mr. Trump hired in 1980 to be in charge of building the 68-story Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, tell me for my book “The Trump White House” that when female executives in the construction business did not exist, Mr. Trump put his faith in her and told her he wanted her to “treat everything as if it were my project and my money, and I would be his final word.”

Finally, why are so many claims and counterclaims for and against Mr. Trump so easily torpedoed? Because the media on both sides have become so dishonest that they cannot bear to tell the truth.

• Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the author of “The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game.”

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