Tag Archives: KGB

Resignations should be forthcoming … but will they?

Jon Huntsman should resign immediately as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general, should hasten his departure and quit as White House chief of staff.

Dan Coats, the former Republican senator, should quit as director of national intelligence.

John Bolton, newly installed as national security adviser, needs to quit, too.

These individuals all have been tossed under the proverbial bus by the president of the United States. Donald J. Trump managed during that jaw-dropping press conference with Vladimir Putin to castigate the U.S. intelligence agencies that have determined Russia attacked our system of government.

Trump has undermined U.S. diplomacy. He has denigrated our intelligence-gathering process. He has weakened the nation he pledged to defend and to strengthen. He has demonstrated a level of ignorance, arrogance and acquiescence that none of us thought would be possible in the president of the United States.

It is enough for Vladimir Putin, the former KGB boss — the top spook in the Evil Empire — to deny doing what the intelligence agencies said he did. Yep, Donald Trump takes Putin at his word, which is about as credible as anything that flies out of the president’s mouth.

I am not holding my breath for any resignations to be forthcoming.

Maybe, though, there might be some spine-stiffening taking place at this very moment.

Which is worse, the Iran deal or the N. Korea non-deal?

Donald J. Trump campaigned for the U.S. presidency vowing to toss aside the Iranian nuclear arms deal brokered by the Obama administration.

He did what he promised to do. We’re now out of the deal, even though our partner nations remain committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

So, what does the president do? He goes to Singapore, meets with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, declares the North Korean nuclear threat to be over after supposedly extracting a pledge to “denuclearize” the Korean Peninsula.

Except that Kim Jong Un didn’t agree to what Trump said he did. Now we hear that Kim is accelerating his nuclear weapon development.

Oh, and the Iran deal actually resulted in the Iranians getting rid of fissile material it could have used to build a nuclear bomb.

All of this comes from the guy who pledged to make the “best deals” in the history of humankind. He promised to end the “disastrous” deals worked out by President Barack Obama’s team in conjunction with our allies.

However, he didn’t get any kind of deal from Kim Jong Un.

Now he’s headed to Helsinki, Finland, where he’ll meet one-on-one — sans national security aides — with Russian strongman/former KGB boss Vladimir Putin.

What in the world can go wrong with that meeting?

Trump and Putin by themselves? What can go wrong?

Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin are going to meet later this month in Helsinki, Finland.

You know that already.

Here’s the kicker. The two men are going to spend some time by themselves, with only an interpreter present, in the same room.

There won’t be any senior aides. No secretary of state. No foreign minister. No national security aides.

Just the two of them.

Wow! What can go wrong with that?

Putin’s a battle-hardened veteran of summits with U.S. presidents. Trump is, um, not so experienced at this level of diplomacy — and I use the term “diplomacy” with extreme caution as it regards the president.

I’m jittery in the extreme about what Trump might give away to Putin in that one-on-one session with the former head of the KGB, the spy agency that used to dig up dirt for the Soviet Union.

Oh, and do you believe Trump is going to challenge Putin in any meaningful way about the Russian meddling in our 2016 election?

You can stop laughing any time now.

Is this ‘leading from behind’?

I cannot resist asking the question: Is the president of the United States “leading from behind” with his decision to join in the expulsion of Russian “diplomats”?

About two dozen nations have joined a sort of class-action expulsion of Russian officials as a way to punish the Russian government over its poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Great Britain.

The United States joined that effort. Indeed, Donald Trump has ordered the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle, citing its proximity to the giant Boeing aircraft assembly plant and the big U.S. Navy base in nearby Bremerton, Wash.

Don’t misunderstand this point: I applaud the president for joining this allied effort to punish the Russians. They are bad actors on the world stage.

However, we heard a drumbeat of criticism from Republicans that then-President Barack Obama was “leading from behind” on issues relating to, oh, Syria, Libya and the continuing war against international terror. Critics accused the president of failing to take the lead on diplomatic and military efforts.

So, does that criticism apply here? The president of the world’s most powerful nation has acquired some valuable political cover by joining other nations in this punishment of Russia, which is governed by that former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin.

Doesn’t the world’s pre-eminent military and economic power have an obligation to take the lead, rather than stand among the crowd?

Press flack keeps insulting the public’s intelligence

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded a direct question today from a member of the White House press corps: Is Russia a friend or foe of the United States?

Her answer defies all logic and it insults the intelligence of Americans across the board.

Sanders said “it is up to the Russians to decide” if they are going to be friendly or unfriendly toward the United States. Such a goofy response causes many of us out here to say: What the … is she talking about?

I need to remind Sanders what her boss, Donald John Trump, used to say about “identifying our enemies.” While running for president, Trump excoriated President Barack Obama for refusing to identify “Muslim terrorists” by name. Obama’s response was that we are not at war with Islam, but we are at war with those who are mass murderers of Muslims.

Why, then, does the current president identify Russia as a supreme foe of this country? Why does his press flack sing from the White House song book that refuses to identify our adversary — by name!

The Russians have all but declared war on our electoral system. They have sown discord, dismay and discontent among Americans, many of whom have lost total and unvarnished faith in our nation’s election system.

The Russians and their president, Vladimir Putin, are not our friends. Putin is a trained spook. He once ran the Soviet Union’s spy agency. He is, in the words of former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly, “a killer.” Putin has sanctioned the murder of journalists and anyone who dissents from his public policy.

This man is a friend? It is up to the Russians to “decide” if they are our friend?

Listen up, young lady: You insult our intelligence constantly by spouting such idiocy.

Now this: Mueller indicts Russians for meddling

Let’s see. If we’re keeping score, the tab is piling up against Donald Trump’s claim that the Russians didn’t interfere in our 2016 presidential election.

The nation’s top spooks, the folks who run our intelligence agencies, say in unison that the Russians meddled in our election.

Now, today, we get word that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for — drum roll! — interfering in our election.

But … the president of the United States is willing to take the word of a former KGB boss, Vladimir Putin, that he didn’t do what our intelligence experts say he did. Donald Trump is the lone denier in all of this.

To be clear, the indictments don’t suggest any collusion from the Trump campaign. The president might take some solace in that knowledge, although there’s still more to be determined by Mueller’s legal team as it pores through all the material that has piled up.

Nor do the indictments say that the Russian hackers’ activity actually affected the outcome. They did not determine the outcome. I get that, too.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians did accomplish their mission in their meddling, which was to cause “discord” and to throw doubt over our nation’s electoral process.

When will the president ever acknowledge what is now widely known? My hunch: He’ll take his denial with him to the grave.

Weird.

When will POTUS ever recognize the Russia threat?

I guess there’s not a single thing I do can do except keep yapping out loud about it. So, therefore, I will.

When is the president of the United States going to acknowledge publicly what many of his fellow Americans already know: Russia threatens our sacred political process.

Instead, Donald John Trump Sr. continues to disparage our law enforcement agencies, our counterintelligence organizations, our criminal justice system, our key protectors.

Trump ratcheted up that criticism of our law enforcement agencies today by allowing the release of a Republican-authored memo that accuses the FBI of bias in its investigation into Russian hacking of our electoral process.

The president attacked the leadership of the FBI and the Justice Department. Oh, sure, he managed to say a good word about the “rank and file” within the FBI. The men and women on the front line, though, work for the very leadership that Trump has continued to criticize, undermine and — some might argue — defame.

I won’t accuse the president of defaming the FBI and DOJ leadership, but I keep returning to a fundamental question: When is the president going to admit in the open that Russia is a bad actor?

Russian President/strongman Vladimir Putin is no “friend” of the United States. I don’t know this as fact, but I cannot believe for an instant that the former KGB boss thinks as highly of Trump as the president says he does. A large part of me believes Putin is laughing his backside off at the confusion, chaos and controversy he has delivered to the United States as a result of the Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election.

Putin committed an act of aggression against this country and for the life of me, I cannot accept why the president of the United States refuses to call that aggression what it is.

I have my share of theories as to why he remains quiet on Russia. I maintain my belief that Americans deserve to see the president’s full tax returns and financial disclosure. They very well could tell us plenty about the president’s reluctance to call the Russians out.

Donald Trump’s silence is deafening in the extreme.

FBI doesn’t deserve bashing from POTUS

Maybe my memory is failing me. Or maybe it isn’t.

I’m having trouble remembering the last president of the United States to disparage the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency, the FBI.

Therein is where Donald J. Trump is doing things so very differently from his predecessors. He’s calling the FBI a lot of names. He alleges that morale is in the crapper; he says its leadership is in shambles; he is saying the FBI needs to be rebuilt.

Oh, and he’s calling the FBI’s role in the examination of Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election a “sham” and a “Democratic hoax.”

I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of an FBI agent. How would I like working for a government being run by a head of state and government who is so distrustful of my agency?

Trump keeps savaging FBI

If the president is going to contend that morale is so lousy, perhaps he is playing a major role in flushing it down a sewer hole.

He’s also been disparaging the attorney general, whose agency — the Justice Department — controls the FBI. Trump dislikes that AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia-election meddling probe, as he should have done. The president’s reaction has been to send signals that Sessions’s time as AG might be dwindling.

Of course, there’s also the issue of Trump questioning the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia did meddle in the election and that Vladimir Putin issued the order to do it. Putin told the president he didn’t meddle — and that denial from the former head of the Soviet spy agency is good enough for Donald Trump.

Strange. Very strange.

And we’re supposed to believe Putin’s word?

Vladimir Putin denies the Russian government played any role in trying to influence the 2016 presidential election.

So that’s it? That’s the final answer? The Russian president — and former head of the KGB, the super secret Soviet spy agency — has declared once and for all that his government didn’t hack into our electoral process?

Pardon my deep and abiding skepticism, but I don’t believe him.

Putin appeared on NBC News tonight. He was Megyn Kelly’s first interview since joining the network. He said something about “Russian patriots” hacking into the U.S. electoral system. What the hell does that mean?

Frankly, he is about as believable as his buddy Donald J. Trump yammering about President Barack Obama ordering wiretaps of his campaign office.

I’ll go with how former national security adviser Susan Rice characterized Putin’s “denial.”

Rice said, simply and directly: He’s lying.

Trump continues scorched-Earth rhetorical policy

We’ve been wondering around our house for, oh, the entire length of the election season and now as the new president gets ready to take office.

It is this: Is Donald J. Trump seeking to undermine his presidency the way he seemed to inflict damage on his candidacy?

You’ll recall the campaign. He offended Hispanics right off the bat; he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s record as a Vietnam War hero; he criticized a Gold Star couple; he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter; he admitted to Billy Bush that he’d groped women by grabbing them in their private parts.

None of that mattered. Trump won the election, despite his seemingly deliberate effort to torpedo himself.

Now he’s getting ready for the inauguration. What does he do?

He continues to disparage intelligence professionals who insist that Russian spooks launched a cyberwar to influence the election; he keeps tweeting idiotic messages in response to criticisms great and small; he declares war on the media; he declines to say he trusts German Chancellor Angela Merkel more than he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin; he fires back at a legendary member of Congress, John Lewis, who questioned Trump’s legitimacy as president, saying Lewis is “all talk, no action”; he accuses CIA Director John Brennan of possibly leaking classified information about alleged Russian hacking.

Sheesh, man!

What’s this guy doing?

He’s got to work with the intelligence pros beginning the moment he takes his hand off the Bible on Friday, shakes the hand of Chief Justice John Roberts and becomes president. How in the world does he work with the dedicated intelligence staffers who will remain after John Brennan leaves to make way for Trump’s pick to be CIA director?

How is he going to work with African-Americans after labeling Lewis — Congress’ most venerated member and a champion of civil and voting rights marches — be an “all talk” kind of individual?

And how is this individual going to assure staunch and trusted allies, such as Chancellor Merkel, that he trusts her implicitly and really and truly doesn’t equate her trust level with that of the former head of the KGB in Moscow?

Let’s all get ready, dear reader, for the roughest ride imaginable.