Whatever short-term political damage this might cause

The Wall Street Journal has stern advice for Don and Fam: spill everything.

Mr. Trump seems to realize he has a problem because the White House has announced the hiring of white-collar Washington lawyer Ty Cobb to manage its Russia defense. He’ll presumably supersede the White House counsel, whom Mr. Trump ignores, and New York outside counsel Marc Kasowitz, who is out of his political depth.

Mr. Cobb has an opening to change the Trump strategy to one with the best chance of saving his Presidency: radical transparency. Release everything to the public ahead of the inevitable leaks. Mr. Cobb and his team should tell every Trump family member, campaign operative and White House aide to disclose every detail that might be relevant to the Russian investigations.

That means every meeting with any Russian or any American with Russian business ties. Every phone call or email. And every Trump business relationship with Russians going back years. This should include every relevant part of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, which the President will resist but Mr. Mueller is sure to seek anyway.

That’s the best chance of saving his presidency? I’m not seeing it. If he released everything, that would probably end his presidency. The WSJ seems to be assuming he hasn’t actually done anything criminal or incompatible with being president, but that’s a huge and rather perverse assumption. I think the reason Trump is hiding as much as he can is because the truth would discredit him. The bits of truth that have been leaked have certainly done a lot to discredit him, and the full truth would do that more thoroughly. The likelihood of some miraculous Innocent Explanation is…slight.

Then release it all to the public. Whatever short-term political damage this might cause couldn’t be worse than the death by a thousand cuts of selective leaks, often out of context, from political opponents in Congress or the special counsel’s office. If there really is nothing to the Russia collusion allegations, transparency will prove it. Americans will give Mr. Trump credit for trusting their ability to make a fair judgment. Pre-emptive disclosure is the only chance to contain the political harm from future revelations.

But that’s true only if this release of all of it shows him to be not a liar, thief, fraud, cheat, and corrupt operator.

Mr. Trump somehow seems to believe that his outsize personality and social-media following make him larger than the Presidency. He’s wrong. He and his family seem oblivious to the brutal realities of Washington politics. Those realities will destroy Mr. Trump, his family and their business reputation unless they change their strategy toward the Russia probe. They don’t have much more time to do it.

But it’s not the brutal realities of Washington politics that caused Trump to be a fraud, cheat, thief, liar, bully, and sleaze – he did that himself years ago. I don’t see how admitting it all is going to save his presidency.

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