The Look of Collusion

President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. President Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed Vladimir Putin's top diplomat t... President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. President Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed Vladimir Putin's top diplomat to the White House for Trump's highest level face-to-face contact with a Russian government official since he took office in January. (Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP) MORE LESS

I was in meetings when this afternoon’s burst of stories hit. For now, I’ll mention one thing. The kinds of discussions, signals, hints that would likely count as collusion would not look much different from what we now know happened in the Oval Office with President Trump and the Russian Foreign Minister.

In this case, of course, there’s no quid pro quo that we know about. The election is over. But that’s not really the point. What really stands out about this is the recklessness of Trump’s actions and his familiarity with Lavrov and Kislyak. As related, the substance of this conversation is that Comey is someone Trump took care of. He’s on the other team from Trump and Lavrov and Kislyak who are familiars.

To be clear, I don’t mean ‘team’ in the charged sense of explicit national loyalties. I mean something more basic and immediate. Comey was a troublemaker who Trump took out and Trump’s confiding in, bragging about it to Lavrov and Kislyak. This mindset, this sense of who’s on which team, who you can confide in makes explicit collusion encounters during the campaign vastly more plausible than they were a couple of hours ago.

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