George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin

Conservative columnist George F. Will, who has lifted American journalism on the pages of The Washington Post with countless columns championing principled conservatism, is now the most important opinion writer in America.

Will, who honorably follows in the footsteps of the greatest conservative columnist of them all, the late William F. Buckley, is now immersed in the greatest battle of his distinguished career. He is battling to save America and conservatism from the twin dangers of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

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History will be kind to the long and growing list of conservatives, Republicans and former Republicans who have had the courage and clarity to aggressively confront the attack against America by Russian dictator Putin, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE, who is ominously uninterested in confronting Putin’s attack against American and European democracy.

 

I have praised Will before and also praised others who join him in this patriotic endeavor, including MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Pete Wehner, Max Boot, Steve Schmidt and others.

It is time to confront the false claim, repeated ad nauseam by Trump, that it has been proven that there has been no collusion, a matter which remains under intense investigation by federal authorities.

The infamous Trump Tower meeting that involved Russians acting in furtherance of the attack against America and three key Trump associates, who were invited to attend the meeting to obtain negative information against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE, was a proven meeting of collusion. 

There is high probability that indictments will be sought as a result of this meeting, involving a conspiracy plotted by Russia to fix the election in favor of Trump.

Exactly who may be indicted will depend on the degree of admissible evidence, especially involving the intent of Americans who attended, including Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDemocratic impeachment investigators looking at whether Trump misled Mueller Gates sentencing set for next month Yovanovitch says John Solomon's columns were used to push false allegations MORE, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpConway and Haley get into heated feud: 'You'll say anything to get the vice-presidential nomination' Conservative group cuts ties with Michelle Malkin Conservatives seek to stifle new 'alt-right' movement steeped in anti-Semitism MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerPompeo announces Israeli settlements do not violate international law Trump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family MORE.

The nation will soon be rocked by the Manafort trials. The first is currently scheduled to begin next week and does not include collusion or conspiracy with Russia involving the 2016 election.

I predict that Manafort or Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, or both, will ultimately reach a plea deal with federal authorities.

This would shake the tectonic plates of American politics by powerfully shaping American opinion and decisively offering crucial new evidence that is not yet public but may well be known by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE.

In George Will’s latest column, the conservative columnist charged collusion between Trump and Putin:

“We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukrainedowning civilian airlinersattempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).”

Truer words have rarely been written.

The legal implications will ultimately be decided by Mueller and any judges or juries that may consider this subject. The central truth about the real life existence of collusion, perfectly defined by George Will, falsely denied by Trump, are clear as a bell.

For Trump to conduct a secret meeting with Putin in Helsinki, with no Americans present except the American translator, was an unconscionable breach of trust and common sense.

It raises profoundly ominous questions about why Trump refused to permit any senior American to attend this meeting, what may have been discussed in this meeting and whether any secret deals may have been reached that were kept secret from the secretary of State, secretary of Defense, national security adviser and White House chief of staff.

In my column Thursday in The Hill, I joined others who have called for the translator to be questioned by Congress. I would add, as pure speculation, there is some chance that this secret meeting was recorded by an intelligence service that is friendly to American democracy and hostile to the Russian attack against us.

The clarity, courage and conscience of George Will’s writing on these subjects is a historic contribution to American journalism, a profound contribution to American democracy and a powerful contribution to the cause of principled conservatism.

Will is trying to defend America from Putin, and to save conservatism from Trump, and for that, patriotic Americans and principled conservatives should be eternally grateful.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.