1. Opinion

Alexandra Petri: Nothing could have less to do with Donald Trump than the campaign that made him president

This indictment story has everything. Vladimir Putin's "niece." Carpet worth $934,350. Catfishing. Paul Manafort, whose involvement with the Trump campaign — as its chairman — apparently came as a total surprise to the campaign.

At least, that's what Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly reassured the American people on Monday, after reading them a bizarre and lengthy story about 10 journalists going out to buy beer together that concluded, "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our tax system works!" Here is her account, somewhat condensed:

First, this has nothing to do with Donald Trump.

For several months, the chairman of the Trump campaign was a man no one knew anything about and who was completely unaffiliated with Donald Trump in any way.

There is nothing less connected to Donald Trump than the campaign that worked to elect him president.

Paul Manafort is a total stranger to the campaign. He just showed up one day and started running things, and we were too polite to stop him. There was a lot of hand-wringing (very large hand-wringing, the largest), but in the end we felt it would be rude to stop these strange volunteers from taking over. Which is how Paul Manafort (Is that the correct spelling? Again, the name is not familiar.) wound up temporarily in charge.

George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, was, again, just some sort of random volunteer who appeared one day. We tried our best to discourage him from helping because no one knew who he was or what his affiliations were, but there was a big mix-up and we named him to a list of key foreign policy advisers instead. Fortunately, we had no intention of listening to these foreign policy advisers. Seriously, look at this administration. Genuinely, the fact that we had any foreign policy advisers came as a total unpleasant surprise to the Trump campaign.

These people appeared unannounced and they were NO HELP AT ALL. It is possible that they were in a meeting with us, but we had no idea who was in any room at any given time. Who ran the campaign? I don't know. Who's running the government? It certainly seems to me like we're lurching from crisis to crisis without any clear guidance or direction.

The real tragedy here is that Papadopoulos (whoever he is!) has been communicating back and forth with a mysterious professor and someone who claimed to be Vladimir Putin's niece, but wasn't. Women are so deceptive and full of lies. Which reminds me of Hillary Clinton, a deceptive woman, whom we should really be talking about.

In brief, all we know is that even President Trump's fine-grained and majestic memory could detect no trace of Manafort, his friend Bob or George Papadopoulos ever having worked for the campaign. So any charges brought against them (of which they are, of course, innocent) could not have less to do with the Trump campaign if they were related to the Clinton campaign. Speaking of which, you should look into the Clinton campaign.

Also, although it doesn't matter because they are, again, strangers to us, they're not even good at colluding. What matters is not that they tried to collude. (Trying is what matters when President Trump tries to console a military widow, or conduct a relief effort.) What matters is that they did not succeed. Anyway, President Trump doesn't know them. Anyway, Hillary Clinton.

No more questions, please.

Alexandra Petri offers a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences." © 2017 Washington Post.