GLENN: Rand Paul just announced that the G.O.P. is -- has decided to keep Obamacare. I mean, how are you going to get Obamacare through with any of this? And they weren't going that direction anyway.
We want to talk to David French from the National Review. He's a senior fellow. He's a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Author of several books and a graduate from Harvard Law School.
So, David, I want to start there, with what you know legally.
Were any crimes committed at all?
DAVID: It doesn't -- there doesn't seem to be the crimes that have been committed. I mean, at least I haven't identified any yet.
You know, there's been a word that's been thrown around a lot, and that's "collusion." And collusion isn't really a legal term. It's more of a political term. And it means cooperation, I would say. It means participation. And it's -- it's -- obviously -- obviously, no one would want to see Americans cooperating with, participating with a hostile foreign power, as it tries to influence an American election. So calling something "collusion," regardless if it's illegal is still very damaging. It's still very, very problematic.
But as of right now, if you look at the decision of Donald Trump Jr. to take that meeting with Jared Kushner, with Paul Manafort, that doesn't seem to be illegal. It still seems to be -- but that doesn't mean that it's not highly, highly problematic. And we can't say the definition of right and wrong is defined by what's legal or illegal.
GLENN: Correct. And we don't have collusion, per se,, but we do have just in the email, at least -- we do have the willingness to coordinate. When he wrote, "Hey, this is great. But it would be better if it was released maybe later this summer," that is the beginning of cooperation. Is it not?
DAVID: Well, right. Absolutely. The way I phrased it is it looks like based on the available evidence -- what you had was like attempted collusion. If you had asked me a week ago -- or if you had told me a week ago that there exists an actual email sent to high-level Trump officials that says, "We're offering that -- we're offering to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father, and it's high-level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump," like that's actually in an email, and then a high-level Trump official, no less high-level than Trump's son responds with, "If that's what you say, I love it," I would have thought that's a bad House of Cards episode. That's just too on the nose, that people can actually --
GLENN: Yeah. And there's no -- there -- I didn't think that there was collusion. I didn't think any of -- you would have said to me last week, if there was just emails between the Russians and the Trumps, I would have said no. I mean, I just -- I didn't believe any of this by any stretch of the imagination. And so now we get to the repeated lies. I think we counted 38 or 48 lies, where they are saying none of this happened. One of those, which is stunning -- and I'm trying to get the tape of it, is from Jake Tapper, where he had Donald Trump Jr. on, at the time of the convention, and he said, "You know, they're saying that the -- that the Russians are targeting Hillary Clinton in favor of your father."
And the answer from Donald Trump Jr. is astounding now that you know what he knew, where he rolls his eyes and he said, "This is just pathetic. They will say anything to win."
I mean, where do you go with that, David?
DAVID: Well, one of the things you do, where you go with that, is you don't believe a word they say anymore. And that's really, really important. Because one of the major defenses that we heard yesterday was, okay. Well, we took the meeting. But the meeting was nothing. Nothing happened. There was no collusion. They didn't offer us anything. We didn't give them anything.
And, you know, that may well be true. That may well be true. It may well be that they took a meeting under false pretenses. But there's two things that flow from that. Or, really three things. One, it still doesn't mean that their intent wasn't terrible. As somebody said, if you're thinking you're buying drugs and they turn out to be fake drugs, that doesn't make you any better person.
GLENN: Yeah. And you're not calling the police. I've been ripped off!
DAVID: Right. Exactly.
And, number two, it says, we don't need to believe a word that you said what actually happened in the meetings. So that means independent investigation should continue.
And, number three, it should make us very, very, very curious about whether there's anything else here. There's no reason for us to believe that this is the last shoe to drop right now.
GLENN: Well, especially since on Saturday -- you know, two weeks ago, it was nothing. Then Saturday, it was a meeting about adoption. And then it was, oh, there's a little more.
And then by Monday, it was the most amazing Hollywood-written email we've -- any of us have ever seen.
DAVID: When I saw that email -- I could not believe my eyes, when I saw that email.
GLENN: David, you have -- you have been watching the conservative movement for a long time. But you've been watching it now for the last 18 months. And I have to -- I have to ask myself and you, all right. People are really hurting. They're really struggling. They don't believe the press. They don't, really, in anything anymore. They reached out to Donald Trump because he spoke their language and said, look, I'm going to bring your jobs back. I'm going to help you with health care.
Many people will look at this and say, this is a distraction. And we have to stop it because we need to get the things done that he promised he was going to get done.
How do you -- what does this do to the conservative movement, if we play this like the left played Bill Clinton in the 1990s?
DAVID: Well, I think what happens is we become that which we despise. You know, I was -- I was -- you know, I remember the 1990s very, very vividly. I remember being appalled at the Democrats, not just -- not just that the Democrats were willing to excuse Bill Clinton, but the extent to which they would attack other people to cover for Bill Clinton and to distract from Bill Clinton.
And you begin to see a lot of the same things happening in the -- you know, what we would still call the conservative movement, that not only are they excusing, they're attacking other people. Sometimes unjustly. Sometimes these other people do wrong things. But attacking other people to excuse Donald Trump. And then at the end of the day, you're looking at it. And, yes, Donald Trump has done some good things. The Gorsuch nomination was very good. The Mattis nomination was very good. But on a lot of things on his agenda, he's not even moving in any direction on those particular things.
And so you, at the end of the day, you're going, "Well, I'm attacking on his behalf. I'm excusing things I never would have excused" -- I mean, could you imagine two years ago, Glenn, that there would be Republicans talking about a meeting like this, with the intention of meeting with foes of the United States to influence an American election -- two years ago, saying, "Oh, that's not a big problem. Here's the real problem?" I could have never imagined that.
GLENN: I could have imagined Hillary Clinton -- honestly, I think so lowly of Hillary Clinton, that I could imagine that.
DAVID: Well, yes.
GLENN: But I couldn't imagine this with --
DAVID: From our side.
GLENN: From our side. No.
How serious is this, David? Where does this go?
DAVID: That's a great question. I would say, it's very serious. We don't know how serious it will get because we don't know what else is there. If this is -- if there is no other shoe that drops in all of this, if this is the story, this is very, very serious, but it's not going to lead to a change in the administration. It's not going to lead to impeachment. But it should be -- it should be deeply alarming, and it should be deeply damaging. But we just don't know. We're at a point right now where -- as Jonah Goldberg put it well, we know so little that we should trust no one and defend no one because there are a lot -- so many facts that we don't know. We have to wait. We have to be patient. And I know that's really hard in the Twitter news cycle. But we really do have to be patient. There are actual credible investigations ongoing.
And what this has shown us is that these investigations aren't a, quote, unquote, witch hunt. For a while -- and I was beginning to believe it. I was beginning to believe that the collusion narrative was utterly false
GLENN: Me too.
DAVID: And now I'm seeing that maybe that's not right, and we need to really -- we need to really leave no stone unturned.
GLENN: So I'm going to talk to the audience here in a few minutes about some of the things that I'm worried about. I mean, any time in American history, that the United States government has become unstable, that's when our foes move. We are -- we are in a situation where one of our foes is Russia. I mean, we are entangled with Russia in North Korea. We're entangled with them in ISIS in the Middle East. In Europe -- I mean, the president just gave a great speech about not -- having Europe not entangled with Russian oil.
I am concerned about things like Kim Jong-il. Is there something on the horizon that we should watch for and be very careful and watch this administration and how they move? Because we know that there might be some deep connections with Russia.
DAVID: Well, you know, we just have to look at very carefully what's happening both in Europe and the Ukraine. The Baltic States. And also Syria. You know, look, people don't realize what a flash point Syria is and what a flash point Syria could become. Because we're moving towards a de facto partition of that country, where we're the guardian and protector of our allies, Russian is the guardian and protector of their allies, and our allies and their allies are often in direct military conflict with each other.
GLENN: Yep. Yep.
DAVID: And that's extremely volatile. And that requires a very steady hand at the wheel. Or a very steady hand at the -- you know, at the helm of the ship of state. And this is something where -- things like this, where you're realizing, could there have been such inappropriate contacts behind the scenes that even today there might be some possibility that there the Russians have leverage that they shouldn't have? That's where it gets very, very troubling.
Because this kind of news cycle -- if there exists other context, this kind of news cycle can erupt again, just at the whim of the Russian state. And that's what a lot of people don't realize when they say, oh, well, what's wrong with taking a meeting about opposition research? Well, what's wrong with it is that the person who meets with you, in this case, if they're agents of the Russian government, has the information that they met with you. They have the knowledge that they met with you. And they have the ability to deploy that knowledge at will to harm you. And that creates leverage. And that's just one of the problematic aspects of it. But it's a very problematic aspect when that leverage is on behalf of our chief geopolitical foe.
GLENN: I have one more minute to answer this question: We're -- we're sitting here and looking at the House and the Senate. They're trying to get health care through. Et cetera, et cetera. They're trying to get a bunch of judges through.
What do our listeners need to do to not -- to have a chance of not losing the House in 2018?
We -- the way we react as the G.O.P., if we bury this, there's a lot of independents that will say, "I want checks and balances on this guy."
GLENN: More so than they already did. What -- how should we be reacting now? What should we be saying?
DAVID: I would say three words: Do your jobs. And your jobs include getting through good legislation. Because there's nothing that says administration chaos can't mean that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't put good legislation on the president's desk that could help Americans. And, number two, do your job in holding this president accountable. Because if you're seen entirely as carrying his water -- and any positive agenda is stalled while you're carrying his water, to say that that puts the House -- makes the House vulnerable and the House majority vulnerable is an understatement. And I think "do your jobs" is the message.
GLENN: Yeah, I agree.
Great. Thank you very much. David French from the National Review. Good talking to you, David. Stay safe.