Thursday, July 05, 2018

Nor Has He Ever Said Rigging Elections Is A Bad Thing

Lefty actor, producer, and director Rob Reiner urged people to vote to avoid "living under an autocratic regime" but could not possibly have believed the first sentence in Tuesday's tweet

The only two people who don’t believe that Vladimir Putin helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election are Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. If you don’t like living under an autocratic regime, you have a chance to not let that happen. VOTE!!!

The timeline tells the tale. We know that

Hours after Donald Trump Jr confirmed a meeting with a Russian lawyer to discuss information on Hillary Clinton, his father promised to make a speech with new information about his former rival for the US presidency. 

“I think you’re going to find it very informative and very very interesting,” the US leader said, adding that it would likely take place next week. 

"We are going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons," he said.

His comments came after his son released emails relating to his previously undisclosed meeting last summer with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has been linked to the Kremlin.

He said "I love it" to what he had been told was an attempt by the Russian government to undermine Hillary Clinton's presidential election campaign.

We know also that on the day he arranged the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, Donald

Trump Jr. placed two calls to blocked numbers. After the meeting ended without the promised dirt, Trump Jr. placed another call to a blocked number.

When asked if his father used a blocked number on any phone, Trump Jr. told the committee: “I don’t know.” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, on the other hand, testified that Trump’s “primary residence has a blocked [phone] line.”

Asked directly if he had told his father about the meeting, Trump Jr. said, “I never discussed it with him at all.”

We know, additionally, that less was delivered at the meeting than expected because, based on testimony to, and documents released from, the Senate Judiciary Committee

“So I believe you have some information for us,” he said, directing his attention across a large conference table to the Russian lawyer who was there, he thought, to deliver incriminating information on Hillary Clinton.

But if Mr. Trump expected a campaign-changing bombshell, he was quickly disappointed. The disparaging information about Mrs. Clinton amounted to no more than allegations of fraud in Russia by several obscure Democratic donors. The Trump campaign officials reacted with dissatisfaction, not eagerness. Both sides left disappointed.

One witness testified that Donald Trump Jr. was "infuriated" that Veselnitskaya didn't have damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

After the meeting, a funny thing happened. It wasn't gut-wrenching funny, more like suspiciously funny. On June 13 the President conceded

that he had promised a major speech about Clinton, but instead said he would discuss her failings in depth another time.

"This was going to be a speech on Hillary Clinton and how bad a President, especially in these times of radical Islamic terrorism, she would be," Trump said. "There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss these important issues at a later time, and I will deliver that speech soon."

The loquacious Mr. Trump had suddenly turned reticent. That big, important speech was never given.

It's clear why it wasn't given.  The candidate's son thought he would "love" information one or two well-connected Russians would give him, but they were merely feeling him out. So two weeks later the father would issue to the Kremlin the plea "if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" from his opponent's private email server.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump know better than almost anyone (in Putin's case, probably better than anyone) that the Russian president helped the con man from New York City win the 2016 presidential election.

Obviously, Reiner realizes that Trump and Putin are aware of Russia's intervention. Yet, many others misunderstand the President's recent statement to reporters aboard Air Force One that "We're going to talk about Ukraine, we're going to be talking about Syria. We'll be talking about elections ... we don't want anybody tampering with elections."

Critics are unconvinced- and concerned- that Trump will avoid those topics. However, they assume that is a bad thing, an illogical perspective given that Trump and Putin do realize the Kremlin helped the latter win the USA election. (That would mean the former. I think.)

And so there has been no response from the Administration in the four months since

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the departing head of the National Security Agency and the military’s Cyber Command, said that he was using the authorities he had to combat the Russian attacks. But under questioning during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he acknowledged that the White House had not asked his agencies — the main American spy and defense arms charged with conducting cyberoperations — to find ways to counter Moscow, or granted them new authorities to do so.

“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity,’” said Admiral Rogers, who is set to retire in April. “Clearly what we have done hasn’t been enough.”

Admiral Rogers’s testimony was the second time this month that a senior American intelligence official had said that Russia’s efforts to meddle in American elections did not end in 2016, and that the Trump administration had taken no extraordinary steps to stop them. He and other intelligence leaders warned two weeks ago on Capitol Hill that Russia was using a digital strategy to worsen political and social divisions in the United States, and all the intelligence chiefs said they had not been expressly asked by the White House to find a way to punish Russia for its efforts.

Of course they haven't, nor would it make any sense for Mr. Trump as the head of the Republican Party to discourage Russian meddling. It worked for him in 2016 and it's likely to work in his behalf as his Party attempts to maintain its congressional majority to obstruct the Mueller inquiry.

When Trump says "we don't want anybody tampering with elections," he may not be thinking American elections. Or perhaps he is- and is simply lying, which he does slightly more frequently than someone changes his/her underwear. In either case, if they discuss "elections," the President of the USA probably will say something like "well done, my good and faithful master."

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