Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Victories For Putin

On June 24, President Grump tweeted "Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?" He followed that the following day with"Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!"

In Poland on July 6 and realizing he had not criticized the USA enough abroad (part of the Make America Great Again program), he stated "Now, the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this, in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August. Now, the election was in November. That's a lot of time. He did nothing about it."

Claiming that President Obama did "nothing" is a significant exaggeration, akin to, say, maintaining that someone who eats meat only once a week is a vegetarian.  Nonetheless, the oddest aspect of Trump's comments is the sheer disingenousness of them, a splendid example of "chutzpah." Although one pancake short of a stack, Trump is not insane, and thus is pretty pleased that President Obama failed during the campaign to expose fully Russian meddling.

Yet, there was no hard evidence, or at least proof, that Trump did not find Obama's limited response a little unsettling. However, the following day we learned from CNN that

Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.

Three days later we learned that the White House's chief legislative liasion had "spent Monday lobbying Hill offices against key provisions in the legislation, according to a senior administration official."  The following day, Vox explained

.... the Trump administration is quietly trying to put the kibosh on bipartisan legislation to sanction Russia for election interference.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and John McCain (R-AZ), would impose new sanctions against Russia and was specifically crafted to make it difficult for President Trump to lift them. It passed in the Senate by a 98-2 margin in June.

But now the bill suddenly looks like it may be in jeopardy. Republicans in the House have been slow to take up a bill that would embarrass the president, and Trump’s team is raising objections to its curtailment of their executive authority to deal with Russia as they see fit. 

Evidently no one told the United States' ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, for three days later she contended the President had

wanted him to basically look him in the eye, let him know that yes, we know you meddled in our elections. Yes we know you did it, cut it out.

And I think President Putin did exactly what we thought he would do, which is deny it. This is Russia trying to save face. And they can’t. They can’t. Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections. 

She didn't say (and apparently wasn't asked) whether "everybody" included the President of the United States. No one wants a President who is thoroughly naive or ignorant. However, if Grump does unerstand wha tis going on, he is plainly rewarding Moscow.

We have a president who won't accept the truth or one who does, but is actively working to prop up a totalitarian regime and hostile nation which has breached security and endangered our democratic process.  The Electoral College has dealt us a very bad hand.

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