Spotlight: Media blasts Trump over Russia, but some call it hysteria

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-18 11:42:38|Editor: Liangyu
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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been under media fire over the Russia scandal, but some say the intense scrutiny amounts to media hysteria.

In the latest chapter of this ongoing controversy earlier this month, e-mails surfaced between Trump's son and a Russian lawyer who allegedly had access to compromising information on then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Critics say this is evidence of collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia, although the lawyer denied having worked for the Russian government.

"The media has gone absolutely insane on this. They are seeing crimes that don't even exist," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

"It's pretty reckless and dangerous, the way that this is being covered," he said. "As much as the ... media wants this to be a crime, it's certainly not treason, and it doesn't appear to be a crime of any type, at least based on the facts as we know them," he said.

Trump's critics say it is illegal for campaign officials to receive anything of value -- such as compromising information on an opposing candidate -- from a foreign government, or from someone representing a foreign government.

But others say there is no evidence that the administration has broken any law. Among them, White House lawyer Jay Sekulow appeared on all five major Sunday news talk shows, saying nothing in the meeting was illegal.

In an op-ed in political publication The Hill, Jonathan Turley, a left-leaning professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, said there was no wrongdoing based on currently known facts.

"Does any of this constitute a clear crime or even a vague inkblot image of a crime? No, at least not on these facts," he wrote.

Some experts said the media's handling of the issue was a double standard, in which left-leaning publications hold Trump's feet to the flames but downplay alleged wrongdoings among Democrats.

"I think what's bothering the Trump campaign here is the double standard at play," O'Connell said.

Moreover, Trump's son has been fully transparent over the issue, and has released the full chain of e-mails to the public. Trump's supporters said these are not the actions of someone who is trying to hide evidence.

However, according to analysts, whether any crime was committed or not, it's what the public believes that is crucial.

The scandal could have negative consequences for the White House in the lead up to the 2018 elections, as Republican lawmakers could distance themselves from Trump over the Russia scandal.

"Nothing scares politicians more than when their political livelihood is at stake," O'Connell said.

"And I'm sure that some will try to distance themselves from Trump, but at the same time, the Democrats are going to try to tie them all to Trump, and in some cases it may work, but in other cases it probably won't," he said.

"It's one of these deals where you see people regularly trying to make comments to distance themselves, but at the same time, there's a narrative out there, and it doesn't seem to be currently registering among Trump country voters, but who knows a year from now," he said.

He added that Trump can get through all of this if he can pass tax reform legislation, as well as healthcare. "People know that they didn't elect a saint. What they want is they want him to get things done."