It's not a small thing that the man who ran the president's campaign has been indicted on multiple counts of money laundering related to his work for a foreign government.
I can't recall anything even remotely like it. Domestic corruption is nothing new. But to launder money from a foreign government seeking to influence global politics: This is new. This should be causing outrage.
And it's not just Paul Manafort. We're back to examining the meeting in which Russians brought dirt on Hillary Clinton to share with Donald Trump Jr., because a Trump aide has now pled guilty to lying to the FBI about the meeting.
This is a much uglier swamp than the one he was supposed to drain.
This one is full of the greediest bottom-feeders, whose patriotism is open to serious question.
And what was Donald Trump's response to the news about Manafort?
He attacked Hillary Clinton.
I thought it was a joke when I first saw it. He couldn't possibly respond to the indictment of Paul Manafort by taking to Twitter to attack Clinton, I thought. The man is president of the United States. Surely he has something more to say. Surely he should be shocked, saddened, troubled, betrayed, even.
Nope. He blamed Clinton.
The Russians told Trump's aides that they were ready to dump hundreds of thousands of Clinton's emails, and did the Trump campaign say, "Hold on, we don't play that way"? No, they set up a meeting.
And yet the president continues to attack Hillary Clinton.
When I was in high school, we had a class called "Democracy in America." It was the senior-year civics course. For some of my classmates senior year was the last year of schooling they'd ever have, and this class was supposed to teach us to always remember the miracle that was our democracy — slow, frustrating, cumbersome, but a miracle nonetheless, just like our annual town meeting, which everyone attended to vote on local issues. I fought with my hometown — over such issues as excluding people from clubs based on race and religion and designating, through real estate maps, which religions could live where — but it was, as my teacher used to say, "democracy in action."
Today, we have tweets in action. We don't have ethics; we have finger pointing. What better time to attack your opponent of a year ago than on the day your top aide is indicted for money laundering? What does that say about the president?
The answer is obvious. The president doesn't care if his aides lie to the FBI. He doesn't care if they launder money from adversarial governments, or if they fail to abide by rules that apply to those who lobby for foreign governments. He doesn't care about the rule of law. He'd like to fire Robert Mueller and everyone who works for Mueller. It's only the politics of it that is stopping him.
We have a president who doesn't care — not a whit — about the rule of law.
The rule of Trump is all that matters.
Nothing else explains his reactions. Nothing else explains him. It should be terrifying.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.