Tag Archives: 2016 election

Tillerson bucks Trump again … this time on Russia

What?

You mean to say that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thinks Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Why, I thought the president of the United States has called it “fake news,” that the Russians wouldn’t do such a thing, that their president, Vladimir Putin, told him they didn’t do it — and that Donald Trump believes him!

Isn’t that what we’ve been told by the Liar in Chief?

Tillerson reportedly made his feelings known privately. But I guess they aren’t quite so private these days now that the world knows what the secretary of state believes about the Russian hanky-panky.

The secretary is on thin ice as it is with the president, who’s reportedly working on an exit strategy to remove Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson opposed Trump’s decision to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, and the withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.

He called the president a “moron” and then pointedly declined to take it back when he was asked about it.

Now we have this item in which Tillerson bucks the Big Man yet again on the Russian interference matter. Actually, Tillerson is far from alone in believing the Russians sought to meddle in the election. If anything, it’s Trump who’s singing solo in his refusal to sign on to what intelligence analysts all have said happened.

However, Trump is the president. Tillerson works at his “pleasure.” My guess is that the president is not feeling too pleased with this latest sign of diplomatic mutiny.

Weirdness persists in Alabama contest

Just how bizarre is the contemporary political climate?

We can start with the election in November 2016 of Donald John Trump Sr., as president of the United States. A man with no public service experience, a record of crude behavior and with no knowledge of government became the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

That’s pretty weird, yes? Yes. It is. In my view.

So, let’s try this one on.

Two men are running for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama. One of them, Republican Roy Moore is accused of sexual abuse against women; one woman has alleged that Moore tried to seduce her when she was just 14 years of age. The other candidate is Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor who secured the conviction of two Klansmen implicated in that hideous 1963 bombing of a Baptist church that killed four African-American girls.

Who’s leading the race? The candidate accused of child molestation. That would be Moore.

Here’s weirdness kicker: Moore has been MIA in the campaign’s final days. He has had zero public appearances; Jones, meanwhile, has been campaigning across the state, shaking hands, kissing babies, making his case.

But … Moore still leads. Barely, but he still leads. The race might be too close to call.

Bizarre.

Actually, Mme. Press Secretary, election didn’t settle it

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the 2016 presidential election decided what voters think about the accusations by women against Donald Trump.

Let me ponder that for a moment. Umm, actually it didn’t settle it. Or perhaps it did in a way that Sanders didn’t intend.

Several women have accused the president of behaving badly toward them; they have alleged incidents of groping, unwanted kissing and assorted tomfoolery they didn’t seek or want.

This is news today because of the sexual abuse allegations that have brought the downfall of Hollywood moguls, actors and politicians. Trump remains untouched. Some senators have called on Trump to resign, just as three members of Congress have done. Other critics are suggesting an ethics investigation is in order.

Oh, what did the election settle? Sanders said Trump’s Electoral College victory meant the issue is gone.

Nope. It isn’t.

Let’s see. How did Trump do in the popular vote? He received 62,985,134 votes. Oh, and how many votes went to Hillary Rodham Clinton? 65,853,652.

That’s a difference of 2,850,518 votes … in Hillary’s favor.

Thus, I do believe Sarah Sanders is mistaken if she thinks the election settled anything.

Take it easy with the ‘P-word,’ Mr. President

Donald John Trump isn’t known for possessing any sense of circumspection. He kind of blurts words out without thinking of how they might sound.

Such as when he endorsed Roy Moore in his race to become the next U.S. senator from Alabama. He said he doesn’t want a “puppet of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer” to serve in the Senate, referring to the Democrat in the race, Doug Jones.

Imagine the president calling anyone a “puppet.” How can someone who many of us believe is a puppet of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin hang that pejorative tag on another politician?

The Russian government, which Putin runs with an iron fist, interfered in our 2016 election. Intelligence analysts believe Putin wanted Trump to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Trump has refused to acknowledge publicly what the nation’s top intelligence agencies have said already about Putin’s involvement in meddling in our electoral process.

Other analysts contend that Putin is playing Trump.

Let me think for a moment.

Isn’t that how someone manipulates a political puppet?

Dare we say, ‘Lock him up’?

It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

He has pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI about when and with whom he met with the Russian government. He faces a possible prison sentence — once he finishes cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into that “Russia thing.”

I doubt he’ll serve prison time. But that’s just me. Whether he remains free or in behind bars might depend on the quality of the goods he delivers to Mueller’s team of legal eagles.

However, Flynn now is being cast in a curious role in this probe. He stands to become the star witness for the special counsel’s office in its search for answers into whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government that hacked into our 2016 presidential election process.

Here’s the juxtaposition that cannot be ignored:

Flynn stood at the podium in the summer of 2016 during the Republican National Convention and led the GOP faithful into that ghastly chant “Lock her up!” — the reference being aimed at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her use of her personal e-mail service while she was serving as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

I use the term “ghastly” because such conduct was totally unbecoming of a man with a distinguished military career who morphed into a leading politician’s national security adviser. Flynn, though, took the low road in that preposterous display.

Will this guy be locked up? Will he get the kind of punishment he urged for a political foe?

It’s tempting to shout “Lock him up!” I won’t do it, though.

Oh, wait! Maybe I just did.

Is the vise tightening around White House?

Robert Mueller has just landed another big fish in his search for the truth.

The special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to look into the “Russia thing” appears now to have reeled in a three-star witness to help learn a great deal about Donald John Trump’s relationship with the Russian government.

He is retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the one-time national security adviser to the president. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials. In exchange he has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s legal team as it pores through a growing pile of evidence.

Mueller already has secured an indictment of former campaign chief Paul Manafort and a chief deputy; former campaign aide George Papadopoulos has copped a guilty plea as well.

Now it’s Flynn’s turn to sing.

As the Washington Post reports: With the guilty plea Friday by former national security adviser Michael Flynn — one of Trump’s closest and most valued aides — the investigation has swept up an array of figures with intimate knowledge of the campaign, the transition and the White House.

It appears to have swiftly expanded beyond Russia’s interference in the campaign to encompass a range of activities, including contacts with Russian officials during the transition and alleged money laundering that took place long before Trump ran for office.

Where does Mueller go from here?

I, of course, am in no position to predict what will happen next, or beyond the next step. My gut — along with my trick knee — are telling me that Mueller’s investigation well might be getting close to pay dirt.

Here’s hoping the president has the good sense to let him stay on the hunt. I mean, Donald Trump keeps saying there’s nothing to any of it … right?

How about all those ‘illegal voters’?

While the world is fluttering over a British royal engagement, sexual misconduct among members of Congress, the media and entertainment moguls and that “Russia thing,” let’s turn briefly to one of Donald Trump’s many lies.

It involves his declaration shortly after becoming president of the  United States that but for the “millions of illegal immigrants” who voted for Hillary Clinton he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. Hillary collected nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, but the president won where it counted: in the Electoral College.

He defamed local election officials without offering a shred of proof. He just said it. Then he formed a commission to examine voting practices. He sought to obtain previously confidential information about voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship.

What in the world has happened to this made-up “crisis” in our electoral system? Has the president given up the effort to prove something he knew all along didn’t exist?

We’ve already passed the first year of Trump’s election. Coming up is the first year since his inauguration as president, which is really when much of the fun started. He’s been using his high office as a pulpit to spew out lie after lie.

The phony illegal immigrant voting lie ranks up there with the best — or the worst — of them.

Some of us — perhaps many of us — are interested to know how this lie has been resolved.

McCain to Hillary: Cool it with the criticism

John McCain knows the pain of losing a presidential election.

Accordingly, he has offered the most recent presidential election loser a bit of solid advice, although I disagree with the manner in which he delivered it.

The Arizona Republican U.S. senator has told Hillary Rodham Clinton to clam up, that she shouldn’t be so highly critical of the man who defeated her for the presidency. “One of the almost irresistible impulses you have when you lose is to somehow justify why you lost and how you were mistreated: ‘I did the right thing! I did!’” Trump told Esquire Magazine. “The hardest thing to do is to just shut up.”

He added: “What’s the f—–g point? Keep the fight up? History will judge that campaign, and it’s always a period of time before they do. You’ve got to move on. This is Hillary’s problem right now: She doesn’t have anything to do.”

Ouch, man!

McCain can’t claim to have remained silent about the man who beat him in 2008. He returned to the Senate after Barack Obama thumped in the race for the White House. He used his public office to criticize the president’s policies. To me, he did sound a little sour-grapy at times, but I understand his position as a member of the “opposing party” while sharing governing responsibility with the president.

Clinton’s situation is drastically different. She isn’t holding a public office. Sen. McCain notes that, too, suggesting that she could have waited a good while before publishing her book — “What Happened” — that chronicles her version of why she lost the 2016 election.

I say all this without apologizing for a moment that I supported her election as president — and I would do so again if she were to face Donald Trump a second time in a presidential election.

I just hope she doesn’t run again.

As for John McCain, he is in the midst of the fight of his life and it has not a damn thing to do with politics or policy. By my reckoning, his battle against cancer gives his remarks even more gravitas.

What? Flynn is turning on Trump? Who knew?

While many of us were eating turkey and getting prepped for today’s shopping mayhem, a bit of news came to light back east.

It seems that former national security adviser Michael Flynn might be turning “state’s witness” in the ongoing probe into whether Donald John Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn held his national security job for 24 whole days at the start of the Trump administration. Then he got canned because he didn’t tell the truth about what he said to whom about meeting with Russian government officials during the campaign.

The New York Times is reporting that Flynn — a retired U.S. Army three-star general — is no longer talking with the Trump legal team and well might be starting to cooperate with the legal eagles working with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Read the Times story here.

The Flynn story sickens me at a couple of levels. First of all, I didn’t like that he had been appointed national security adviser in the first place. He assumed a highly political role during the Trump campaign. In my mind, he sullied and soiled a brilliant military career by standing in front the GOP convention two summers ago leading the “Lock her up!” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The man clearly knows plenty about what the Trump campaign did in regard to the Russian hackers. Mueller is pursuing the truth methodically and meticulously. Will the former national security boss provide him with the silver bullet that pierces the armor surrounding the president and his inner circle?

I don’t expect this investigation to accelerate in speed. Mueller’s reputation as a patient prosecutor likely will preclude any rush to judgment.

However, it’s hard — for me — to disbelieve the notion that if Gen. Flynn is working with Mueller’s team that a major development in this probe is likely to explode.

‘Biggest loser of all time’

Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!

I’ll give you three guesses on who wrote this little message … and the first two guesses won’t count.

Yep. Donald John Trump Sr. would be the one.

I’ve been thinking a bit about what the president wrote about his vanquished 2016 presidential election foe.

You know what? He has a point about Hillary’s standing as the “worst (and biggest) loser of all time.”

It’s that she lost to Donald Trump that I think qualifies her as the biggest loser. She had no business on Planet Earth losing to that clown. She managed to do it, however. She had some “help” along the way … as some have argued.

There was that last-minute dump by then-FBI Director James Comey, who said he was re-examining the e-mail controversy; it turned out he still had nothing on Hillary.

And, oh yeah, the Russians were hacking into our electoral process to help their boy, Donald Trump, over the finish line.

Trump now is goading Clinton into running again in 2020. She likely won’t swallow that bait. Still, the president keeps yapping away at his 2016 opponent for reasons that baffle me.

I’ll give some measure of “credit,” though, for describing Hillary as the nation’s “biggest loser.” The president’s own quality and qualifications as a candidate, however, elevates Hillary Clinton to this lofty standing.

Get a grip, Donald.