Tag Archives: Russia probe

Trump once more seeks to outshine his predecessor

I am not the least bit qualified to psychoanalyze anyone, let alone the president of the United States.

However, I am entitled to ask what I think is a pertinent question: Why does Donald Trump seem so fixated on comparing his record with that of his predecessor, Barack Obama?

Good grief! He did it again this week.

Trump said he has been tougher on the Russians than the former president ever was. Wrong!

Trump has said his 2017 inauguration drew the largest crowd in history, even more than Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural. Wrong again!

The president has sought to repeal Obama-era executive orders at every turn.

Trump seeks constantly to denigrate the former president’s accomplishments while trumpeting his own made-up victories.

I know he sees the same reports that have come to others’ attention. Try this one, for instance: Historians are starting to rate Barack Obama’s presidency among the top 10 in U.S. history; these historians already have labeled Trump’s tenure as president as the worst ever.

That’s got to grate on Trump. Yes? The president and his allies certainly are going to suggest that the comparisons are part of some “liberal bias” that favors Obama over Trump. That’s their right. I would merely disagree with that assertion.

Trump’s obsession with Obama’s record and the continual attempts — trite and shallow as they seem — are bothersome. They suggest to me a startling insecurity in the current president.

How strange. Oops. I just slipped in a bit of psychoanalysis.

Since I’m no doctor, I’ll just leave it at that.

Now it’s Trump vs. McMaster … imagine that!

So much buzz, so little time to process it all.

Donald Trump fired off a tweet over the weekend that took aim at a remarkable target: the man who provides him national security advice.

H.R. McMaster said at an international conference that special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of several Russians on charges of 2016 election meddling provides “incontrovertible” proof that the Russians launched an attack on our electoral system.

Trump’s response was to say that McMaster “forgot” to say that the indictments didn’t accuse the Trump campaign of “collusion,” that it didn’t help the Russians hack into our system; nor did McMaster say that the meddling actually influenced the outcome, according to the president.

So, the battle is joined. As Politico notes, the two men have been at odds ever since McMaster replaced the disgraced Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

Here is the Politico story

Who knew? I mean, McMaster is a highly decorated U.S. Army three-star general, a man with tremendous attention to detail. He is a national security scholar who now works for a man who doesn’t have the interest or inclination to study anything. The president flies by the seat of his pants and reacts viscerally to crises.

Is there any wonder that Gen. McMaster and the president would be at odds?

Hardly.

We are left to wonder how this White House, the president and his top aides ever are able to concur on anything. Who in the world gives this president advice he actually heeds?

The answer is no one.

Actually, Obama did act on Russian meddling

Donald Trump went on a Twitter tirade over the weekend and in the process he managed to tweet out yet another lie.

I know. It’s just so hard to believe. Right? Actually, well … no. It isn’t. It’s Trump’s modus operandi.

While he was blasting former President Barack H. Obama, Democrats, the FBI, Hillary Clinton, H.R. McMaster and the media in the wake of the indictments over the Russian election meddling, the president accused his predecessor of doing nothing about the Russians.

Actually, sir, President Obama did do something.

I feel the need to remind Trump of that. Except that he knows it already, which makes his misstatement yet another outright lie.

Obama looked Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in the eye and told him to quit interfering in our electoral process. Then the president signed an executive order that booted several Russian diplomats out of the country, forced the closure of Russian diplomatic property and imposed strict economic sanctions on the Russians.

He sought to punish the Russians for doing what the intelligence community has confirmed what they did.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted several Russians and three Russian companies for their role in the 2016 election interference. Both houses of Congress approved — with overwhelming majorities — toughened sanctions on Russia, only to have the president decline to agree to them.

In that light, Donald Trump has the gall to say that Barack Obama has done “nothing” to punish the Russians?

Liar.

Yet another tragedy falls victim to politics

Donald Trump’s incessant use of Twitter could enable him to use the social medium to comfort and console families suffering from unspeakable grief.

Yes, the president did offer his “thoughts and prayers” to families and other loved ones in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school massacre on Valentine’s Day.

Then he followed up with a tweet over the weekend that reveals, in my mind, the kind of person Trump really is.

He blamed the FBI for failing to respond to tips about the alleged shooter because the agency was “too busy” investigating the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian hackers who meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

There you have it. When the president is handed an opportunity to criticize law enforcement, by golly he jumps all over it — even when the criticism is juxtaposed with a nation’s grief over another spasm of gun violence.

The president has drawn criticism from politicians of both parties over this response. Will it sink in? Will he heed what members of his own party are saying? Hah! Hardly.

Does this man have any sense of decency? Any sense of shame? Any sense of compassion or empathy? I concluded long ago the answer is an unequivocal “no!”

Sickening.

Trump keeps firing at the wrong targets

Donald Trump launched yet another Twitter tirade this weekend.

He went after Democrats, the media (including CNN in particular), President Obama and — this is extraordinary — his national security adviser and the FBI. The reason for the tirade? Russian meddling in our most recent presidential election.

Who did the president leave out of his barrage of criticism? Let me think. Oh, yes! The Russians!

Trump didn’t tweet a single word about the Russian meddling. He didn’t convey a single tiny bit of anger — let alone profound outrage — that the Russians launched an attack on our electoral system. He didn’t say anything about whether he would take measures to punish the Russians for their meddling and their attempt to sway the results in his favor.

The tweet storm came in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians for their role in the meddling. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the indictments provide “incontrovertible proof” that the Russians did what the intelligence experts say they did. The FBI got pounded because it is spending “too much time” on Russia and too little time following up leads such as those it got about the Parkland, Fla., shooter. CNN got trashed because it reported on the indictments. Barack Obama got pounded because the meddling occurred while he was president. Democrats in general were pounded because, as Trump has asserted, they have cooked up this “Russia thing” because they lost a presidential election they were supposed to win.

The president of the United States once again has demonstrated that he doesn’t understand his fundamental duty, which is to protect our nation against our adversaries.

What is up with this man? I’m beginning to believe he has a serious man-crush on Vladimir Putin, the Russian president/strongman/former KGB boss.

That man-crush is allowing Putin to laugh out loud inside the Kremlin walls at the president of the United States, who promised to “make America great again.” He has succeeded in making America an international punch line.

‘Fake news’ gets more Trump scorn

I have become immune to the outrage of Donald Trump’s Twitter fetish, so I won’t gripe that the president is tweeting his outrage yet again.

However, his continuing outrage at what he keeps calling the “fake media” is outrageous in the extreme.

The president went after the media’s coverage of Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians and three Russian companies over their alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

C’mon, Mr. President! They’re doing their job. The media are part of the very system to which you belong!

They have a responsibility to report on what the special counsel is doing to discover all the facts surrounding the election, the Russian interference in our electoral process and whether there was any “collusion” between the Russians and the president’s campaign.

As for Trump’s criticism of the media reporting of the indictments, I hasten to add that the media have reported quite clearly that the indictments do not suggest there was collusion. To that end, the media have treated the president fairly — which means they have passed the second test of good journalism.

The first test is accuracy. On this matter, the media have done well, too.

So, Mr. President, shut up with the “fake news” mantra.

Waiting for outrage from White House

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Donald J. Trump to say what needs to be said about Russian meddling in our nation’s electoral process.

The president should declare his outrage and must insist that we take measures to ensure that this kind of political aggression from a foreign adversary never happens again.

He won’t say it. Of that I am increasingly certain.

What’s more, his refusal to declare such outrage makes me question whether this man actually places protecting the nation he governs above all else.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for their role in interfering in our 2016 presidential election. The 37-page indictment does not alleged “collusion” from the Trump campaign; nor does it say that the Russian interference determined the outcome.

That was the focus of the president’s initial response. He said the indictments vindicate his campaign. He declared there was “no collusion!” yet again.

Meanwhile, national security adviser H.R. McMaster says the indictment provides “incontrovertible proof” that the Russians launched a campaign against our electoral system. They committed an act of aggression. They sought to sow discord and discontent among Americans. They succeeded!

Where in the world is the outrage from the man at the top? When is he ever going to declare virtual war against foreign powers who think they can mess with our political system?

The president took an oath to defend the United States. He swore to place our national interests above all else. Indeed, he campaigned on a pledge to “put America first.”

The president’s continuing refusal to state his intention to end this kind of meddling is a fundamental violation of that oath.

Disgraceful.

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.

Spooks say it again: Russia meddled in 2016!

The nation’s leading intelligence agency heads all sat in a row in front of a congressional committee.

Then they all said the same thing: Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election and they intend to do the same thing during our 2018 midterm election.

There you have it.

Except that the men’s boss, the president of the United States, isn’t buying it. Donald John Trump continues to insist that it’s not yet proven that Russia meddled. The president, moreover, says that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, told him he had no hand in the meddling. Trump apparently has bought into Putin’s denial … as if the Russian strongman is going to say a single thing different.

The Hill reports: “There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during his opening remarks at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

He also warned lawmakers that Moscow is “likely to pursue even more aggressive cyberattacks” against future elections in an effort to undermine U.S. democracy.

I don’t need to remind anyone — but I guess I will anyhow — that Coats is no squishy Democratic liberal. He’s a former Republican senator from Indiana, whom Trump appointed to lead the national intelligence team.

I think I’ll accept Coats’ version of what he and the others — including the director of the FBI and the CIA — are saying about Russia’s acknowledged effort to subvert the U.S. electoral process.

If only the president himself would admit the obvious.

If only …

Key aides disserve POTUS and the nation

Believe this or not, but I am going to give Donald J. Trump the benefit of the doubt on the latest tempest that is sweeping through the White House.

The president said he learned only recently of Rob Porter’s record of spousal abuse. I want to believe him. Indeed, I actually am inclined to do so. Porter quit his post as staff secretary to the president when it became known that he had beat up his two former wives and a former girlfriend.

The bad guys here appear to be two of Trump’s closest aides: chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn.

We have seen considerable credible reporting that suggests Kelly and McGahn knew about Porter’s alleged wife- and girlfriend-beating a year ago, but kept it quiet. The FBI had received complaints and were holding up Porter’s top secret security clearance because of the probe it was conducting into the allegations. And yet, absent the security clearance he needed given the hyper-sensitive nature of the documents he handled, Porter got hired anyway.

Kelly says he know only recently about the “full details” of the allegations? McGahn, too? Please. These men appear to have kept vital information from the man who is supposed to know these things.

Kelly should depart the White House. I say that with regret. I had high hopes that the retired Marine Corps general would rub off on the mess he inherited when he moved from Homeland Security secretary to the West Wing. It hasn’t happened. Indeed, it seems he has taken on some of the president’s more unpleasant characteristics, such as dismissing accusations leveled by women against men.

As for McGahn, he recently received praise for reportedly threatening to quit if Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting his investigation into the “Russia thing.” Now it appears McGahn has joined the cabal of secret-keepers operating within the White House. He needs to hit the road, too.

As for the president, I remain committed to my extreme antipathy toward him on manner of issues and behavior.

On this matter, though, it looks to me as though he — and the nation — have been served badly by two men who should have spilled the beans on their colleague’s spouse-beating history.