Friday, August 03, 2018

Trump's Opportunity

Raw Story reports

CNN contributor Phil Mudd, a former CIA officer, hammered Trump administration officials on Friday for what he described as a “PR stunt” press event that was held Thursday to outline the administration’s actions on combating Russian interference in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Reacting to the so-called “security meeting” held at the White House to discuss Russia’s efforts to interfere in future elections, Mudd blew off the entire event as little more than a dog-and-pony show.

“That was not a security meeting yesterday,” he said. “That was the White House using a bunch of people so that, for the next two months… every time somebody raises Russia with Sarah Sanders, she’s going to say, ‘Look, the president directed those guys you saw on the podium to go do something about Russia.'”

Host Alisyn Camerota interjected to ask Mudd if he thought the entire thing was just a public relations campaign rather than a serious effort to combat Russian hacking.

“That was a PR stunt, give me a break!” he said. “Yes, they got used!”

We know they have been manipulated, probably- as Mudd believes- by doing as they were told. (He begins at 16:24 of video above; stay with it until 17:09.)You can't buy a headline like that in The Washington Post, "White House asserts 'vast' effort to protect elections." Nor can you buy the spin on the article, in which Associated Press reporters maintained

... the Trump administration put on a show of force Thursday and said the president had directed a “vast, government-wide effort” to safeguard a cornerstone of American democracy.

John Bolton, the national security adviser, also wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats that “President Trump has not and will not tolerate interference in America’s system of representative government.”

If Mr. Trump did not direct this, he could not have been more pleased about the "show of force" nor the way it was covered.  Mudd understands every time somebody raises Russia with Sarah Sanders, she's going to say "Look, the president directed those guys you saw on the podium to go do something about Russia.

Moreover, having witnessed serious, sober, and cowed officials, the mainstream media as well as the foreign policy and intelligence establishment henceforth may be comforted by the Administration's concession that Russia continues to interfere with elections.

Moreover, Trump can claim, repeatedly though dishonestly, that Russia will meddle in the 2018 elections- but for the Democrats! If the GOP loses control of the House, he will vociferously charge that the vote itself, as well as the election generally, was rigged. 

No one outside of NSA director Nakasone, DNI Coats, FBI director Wray, Homeland Security chief Nielsen, National Security adviser Bolton, Presidential Press spokesperson Sanders, or President Trump can know for sure if the joint appearance was ordered by the White House. In either case, it was an event that Donald Trump can put to great strategic use.

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