Column | I had a surprising chat about Russia with my barber
“I hope all these guys go to jail.”
Everyone in the barbershop looked at Bart, the owner.
“Which guys?” I asked.
“The ones in the FBI investigation.”
He grimaced when I muddied the waters, asking, “Which one?”
“You know which one. The Russia collusion in the election one. I just want them all to go to jail.”
“Because that’ll put an end to all this crooked campaign stuff. They already got one guy, Flynn, right?”
“Yup. General Flynn was Trump’s national security advisor.”
I looked it up in my hair-splattered phone.
News reports say he told FBI agents he had not asked a Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, to “avoid escalating tensions over sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama,” and he also told agents he had not asked Kislyak to delay or defeat a pending resolution at the U.N. Security Council.
Both of those statements proved to be false.
Above the sound of his expert clipping, Bart observed, “So, if you lie to a federal agent, it’s a felony and you go to jail. Good. I’m tired of these politicians lying and stealing. Who else will they get?”
“I don’t know ...”
“Trump? Will they get Trump? He had these illegal meetings and ... what do they call it ... back channels. Back channels, right?”
“Yes, back channels.”
“So he’ll go to jail, right?”
“During the 2008 campaign, Obama reportedly had a back channel guy meet with the Iranians, JFK had one with the Russians in 1960, Nixon with the Vietnamese (which President Johnson called treasonous), Senator Ted Kennedy actually worked with a Russian (Soviet Union at the time) spy to enlist their help in defeating Ronald Reagan and help Kennedy in a run for the Presidency, then ....”
“Wait.” The scissors stopped their scissoring.
“So how come they didn’t go to jail?”
“Politics, I guess. Consider this: There’s a federal law called The Logan Act. It says no unauthorized U.S. citizen may negotiate with any foreign government that’s having a dispute with our country without the consent of the President. During the Bush Administration, Nancy Pelosi went and had a little conversation with tyrannical dictator Assad of Syria while we were having quite the dispute with him.”
“The first week of the Trump Administration is when Hawaii Democratic Senator Tulsi Gabbard decided to slip off to Syria with for a little chit chat with Assad. Democratic and Republican leadership reportedly didn’t even know she was gone until Gabbard was already there.”
I tapped the fuzzy phone again.
You decide if Gabbard confessed to a little negotiating or not in her ensuing conversation with Jake Tapper on CNN:
“When the opportunity arose to meet with [Assad], I did so because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then, we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there’s a possibility that we could achieve peace,” Gabbard said. “And that’s exactly what we’ve talked about.”
Bart was obviously frustrated.
“Don’t any of them go to jail?”
“Sure. I remember Republican Duke Cunningham of California went to jail for taking a couple million in bribes from defense contractors.”
“The Clintons had a couple of fundraisers go to jail.”
“Wait!” Bart shouted. “I hate all corruption; Democrats, Republicans, anybody with authority over the people, like that FBI agent running the investigation of Hillary’s email scandal while his wife is running for Senate as a Democrat, funded by Hillary’s pal ... who’s the guy?”
“Democrat Terry McAuliffe?”
“Yeah. And that’s the problem.”
“You get too many sleazy people in political jobs because pundits and the press makes everyone look sleazy whether they are or not.”
Best haircut I’ve had in a month.