Is President Donald Trump under investigation? At one time the president seemed to think so. He tweeted at much while railing about how unfair it was. However, CNN reports that the president’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, who ought to know about such things, says that Trump is not being investigated, despite the Washington Post story that suggested that he was. Then the Washington Examiner reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has not decided whether or not the president should be investigated.

What is Trump supposed to have done?

The Trump-Russian scenario, which suggests that the president is Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian Candidate, seems to be dying a gradual death.

The idea was unlikely, being a conspiracy theory so lurid that not even Alex Jones would touch it, though it remains a favorite of the mainstream media. In any case, Trump policy in Europe, the Middle East, and in the energy sector is running so counter to Russian interests as to suggest that if the president is Putin’s guy, he made an incredibly bad bet. Of course, one can always posit the idea that Trump control, whoever the Angela Lansbury character is in this story, has gone rogue.

So the folks in the media and official Washington have seized upon obstruction of justice as the thing that will truncate the Trump presidency. The theory here is that the president fired FBI Director James Comey as a way to derail the Russia collusion investigation.

The problem with this idea is twofold. First, that particular investigation is proceeding apace, now under Mueller. Second, no evidence exists that such collusion ever took place.

It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up

However, the people in Washington and the media from whom Trump is bitter gall and wormwood are seizing on the old Watergate-era adage that it is not the crime but the cover-up that will get you.

They are relying on the tendency of special counsels to find something, anything that will garner guilty pleas and put people in jail. No special counsel wants to spend months or years and tens of millions of dollars only to report that there was no there-there.

Scandal as entertainment

Of course, a scandal has always been something that the media has entertained itself with, even if audiences grow weary of the spectacle.

When President Nixon was finally forced to resign, a great sigh of relief arose in the United States. The sense of relief was not so much because a scoundrel had been driven from office, but because the media would have to find something else to cover besides endless stories about Watergate. The difference is that in the 21st Century, the media is far more diverse and people can simply tune out venues that spend too much time covering Trump’s alleged malfeasances. The president has a tool in Twitter to disperse his message that Nixon never had, but would have loved to have used. Things may not follow the Watergate playbook as a result.