Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe has concluded without any indictments of President Donald Trump and his associates for conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
However, as The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer argues, the investigation has uncovered a lot of very sleazy behavior by the president and his associates that is perfectly legal.
In particular, Foer zeroes in on the revelations that Trump was trying to cut a deal with the Russian government to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while he was running for president as a shining example of sleazy-but-ethical behavior.
“Trump’s motive for praising Putin appears to have been, in large part, commercial,” he argues. “With his relentless pursuit of Trump Tower Moscow, the Republican nominee for president had active commercial interests in Russia that he failed to disclose to the American people. In fact, he explicitly and shamelessly lied about them.”
Foer then claims that Trump’s reluctance to criticize Russia for interfering in the 2016 election seems to stem from his own fragile ego rather than being a genuine Kremlin puppet.
This shouldn’t be comforting, however, because it shows that Trump’s first loyalty is to himself rather than to the United States as a whole.
“The president never chooses to distinguish — and indeed, may be temperamentally incapable of distinguishing — his personal interests from the national interest,” he writes. “Why has he failed so consistently to acknowledge Russian interference in the election? Because that interference was designed to benefit him.”