Tag Archives: Russian hackers

‘Political hacks’ strike back at Trump

Donald John Trump showed his stripes yet again over the weekend.

So help me, the president sickens me constantly.

He met with Vladimir Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam. They shook hands. Trump and Putin had a brief meeting. Putin said he didn’t interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump said that he accepted Putin’s denial on its face.

Then the idiot in chief called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks” because they have asserted that the Russians did interfere with our electoral process.

Can you imagine how Republicans would react if, say, Barack Obama had called two distinguished American intelligence officers “political hacks”?

Brennan and Clapper, of course, weren’t taking the president’s disparagement lightly. They have scolded him seriously, suggesting that Putin is “playing” Trump like a fiddle.

Trump did attempt to walk back his comments about Putin’s phony denial, but he managed to botch that as well, saying he backs the U.S. intelligence community, while continuing to suggest that Putin is “sincere” in his denial of election interference.

Sigh.

Oh, so very sad.

Russians able to declare victory?

If you assume — as I do — that Russian spooks intended to disrupt the American political system by their hacking and disseminating “fake news,” then isn’t it fair to presume that they can declare victory?

Or, to put it another way: Mission accomplished.

I mean, think of it.

The Russians interfered in our electoral system. U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that to be a fact. All of them concur that Russia sought to disrupt our electoral process.

It’s not yet clear just how they intended to swing the election to Donald J. Trump’s favor. Trump won. He hasn’t spoken angrily about Russia. Or about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, congressional investigators are turning themselves inside out trying to find out about the “Russia thing.” The Department of Justice has appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the FBI investigation. Our attorney general has had to recuse himself from anything to do with Russia.

Congressional Democrats are talking now openly about impeaching the president. The FBI is looking at whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian government operatives.

And the president’s legislative agenda — health care overhaul, tax reform, building that damn wall — is stalled completely. None of it is likely to get advanced.

Do you get my drift? The Russians have succeeded, actually, in accomplishing what they intended when they got involved in our electoral process in the first place.

Now, let’s all wait for the president to possibly, potentially lessen those sanctions we leveled against the Russians for their aggression in Ukraine.

Is that a crazy notion? Not even …

Uh, Mr. POTUS? Photo ops are meant to convey something

Dear Mr. President,

That was some stunt you pulled today.

You called the media into the White House to watch you sign a couple of executive orders concerning international trade enforcement.

Then one of the reporters fired off a question about Michael Flynn. Your response? You turned tail and ran from the room. Why didn’t you stay long enough to sign the damn EOs?

This was supposed to be a positive photo op for you and your struggling administration. Then someone poses a tricky question — and you provide yet another kind of photo op, one that won’t play nearly as positively as the one you intended.

It was fascinating to watch the vice president acknowledge immediately what was going on and how it would look.

You probably don’t care what I think — given that I live out here in Trump Country, but I have a decidedly different view of the job you’re doing from the neighbors on my street. I’ll tell you anyway.

Every time you perform stunts like the one you performed today, you send chilling messages that there really and truly might be a flame under all the smoke being generated by that Russian hacking story.

We know that you gave Gen. Flynn the boot as your national security adviser because of questions swirling about his Russia relationships. I actually think you made the right call there, despite my belief that Gen. Flynn shouldn’t have held the post in the first place.

You have photo ops and then there are photo ops.

Mr. President, you need to answer the questions. Definitively, with clarity and precision — if you are able to dispel the chilling notion among many of us that there might be something to this Russian “collusion” story.

Immunity request: Does it signal guilt … or what?

Donald J. Trump once thought requests for immunity from key witnesses implied they were guilty of something.

Now the president of the United States is saying something quite different. Imagine that, if you can.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn wants congressional committees to grant him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony on what he knows about Trump’s possible connection with Russian government hackers.

Guilty of something? Or is he trying to avoid what he calls “unfair prosecution”?

Flynn has a story to tell.

Something tells me it might be the former. That means the president’s one-time belief seems to hold up today.

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general — and an acknowledged brilliant battlefield commander — served as national security honcho for 24 days. Then he was pushed out by the president over questions about meetings he allegedly had with Russian government officials.

Oh, yes. The Russian government has been named by U.S. intelligence agencies as trying to hack into our computer network with the intention of influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s response? He has disparaged U.S. spooks, comparing them to Nazis. He has said nary a discouraging word about Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Flynn’s role is key here. Does he know something that he cannot tell because he might face criminal charges himself? And, oh by the way, does any of this include the possibility of treason?

I’ve tried to weigh this matter: immunity to protect someone who might have betrayed his nation?

I believe the president — and Flynn, for that matter — were right initially. Immunity requests would seem to imply criminal guilt.

Make Gen. Flynn talk, even at the risk of facing criminal prosecution.

POTUS can end this tumult immediately, if only …

Donald J. Trump is the world’s most powerful man.

As president of the United States, he has at his disposal the ability to put all this Russia/wiretap tumult to rest immediately.

How does he do that if what he says is true, that all this hubbub is much ado about nothing, that it’s all “fake news”?

He can order every aide with any possible tie to the Russia story to talk to congressional investigators. He can order them to speak candidly to the FBI. He can allow the former acting attorney general, the one he fired, to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

All of this, of course, presumes that Trump is innocent of the accusations that are flying all over Washington, D.C.

Did his campaign conspire with Russian hackers to influence the 2016 election? Trump says it didn’t happen. His behavior of late, however, is beginning to smell like something different. It’s beginning to develop the odor of a cover-up.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is pushing back on calls for him to recuse himself from this investigation. Democrats want him out; so do some Republicans. He says he has nothing to hide. Yet he canceled a hearing with former acting AG Sally Yates. It’s fair to ask: Why?

The House investigation is showing symptoms of an impending implosion.

The principal at the center of all this now occupies the White House. This is Donald Trump’s controversy to squash. He can demand a full public accounting of all the questions that are threatening to swallow his still-young presidency.

That presumes the president’s innocence.

Does he — or doesn’t he — have anything to hide?

Step aside, Chairman Nunes

The more I think about it, the very idea of Devin Nunes chairing the House Intelligence Committee that’s examining Donald J. Trump’s potential Russia connections seems utterly ludicrous.

Chairman Nunes should do what his Democratic colleagues and many of his fellow Republicans are demanding of him. He should recuse himself from the panel’s Russia investigation.

C’mon, man! He served on Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. He has just recently gotten involved in an imbroglio regarding intelligence he said he had that suggested someone had spied on Trump, gathering “incidental” intelligence.

Now he’s trying to explain how he managed to tell the president about it and why he did it.

His objectivity has been compromised to the hilt.

Ranking Democratic Committee member Adam Schiff has demanded that Nunes step down. U.S. Sen. John McCain has joined the chorus; so has fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

This, folks, now seems like a “well, duh!” moment, given Nunes’ role in Trump’s transition.

The Russia probe needs dispassionate leadership from the House Intelligence Committee chairman. There needs to be a thorough examination of all the evidence that’s been gathered.

The questions are these:

* Did the president collude with Russian hackers who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election?

* Did anyone on his campaign engage in collusion? Did they do so with the candidate’s knowledge?

The House Intelligence Committee needs a chairman who is able — and willing — to seek the truth, no matter where it leads him.

Devin Nunes is not that man.

Step aside, Mr.Chairman.

Trump redefines ‘fake news’

I am still rolling this one over in my noggin, but it might be that Donald “Smart Person” Trump has crafted a new definition of what we know as “fake news.”

During that rambling and ridiculous press conference Thursday, the president kept asserting that the Russia story is “fake news.”

As Shepard Smith of Fox News points out, it ain’t “fake,” Mr. President, and you need to provide some answers to Americans who are demanding to know the truth.

The Hill reported Smith’s response to Trump’s criticism of the media: “No sir,” Smith continued. “We are not fools for asking this question, and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people. Your supporters will support you either way. If your people were on the phone, what were they saying? We have a right to know, we absolutely do and that you call us fake news and put us down like children for asking these questions on behalf of the American people is inconsequential. The people deserve an answer to this question at very least.”

Smith, of course, is correct to challenge Trump’s constant berating of media for doing their job.

I’m now beginning to think that what Trump calls “fake news” really is news that is unimportant. It’s true, just not worth the media’s — or the president’s — time.

The whole “fake news” story burst on the public stage with bogus reports intended to do damage to political figures. Someone makes a story up, posts it on the Internet, the story goes viral and people respond the way the person who posts it intended. They make money on all the “clicks” they get on the bogus item. Some of these trolls get caught, are exposed for what they are — liars! — and then vow to quit doing it.

The Russia stories aren’t “fake” if you adhere to that original definition of “fake news.”

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had conversations with Russian officials. The question pending is when he did that and at whose request or command. Moreover, when did Flynn lie to the vice president about it and did he violate the Logan Act, which bars unauthorized citizens from “negotiating” with foreign governments?

In other words, did Flynn tell the Russians that the new president would reduce or eliminate the sanctions leveled on them by the man who still was in power, President Barack H. Obama? Remember, too, that the sanctions came after CIA and other intelligence agencies determined that Russian hackers sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

It isn’t “fake,” Mr. President. Reporters have every right — indeed an obligation — to ask you about all this.

It’s important in the extreme.

So, knock off the “fake news” description.

The Dossier: It’s ba-a-a-a-ck

I am still trying to figure this one out. So, too, are federal and international law enforcement authorities.

Donald J. Trump went ballistic not long after becoming president at media outlets that reported the existence of a “dossier” that allegedly had been compiled on him. The president called out CNN in particular for being a “fake news” outlet because it reported the existence of unsubstantiated reports contained in this dossier.

Now it appears the dossier’s existence might be gaining some credibility among law enforcement spooks.

Some truth is in order. The issue centers on some information reportedly compiled by a British spy alleging that Russian authorities had some negative information regarding Trump’s business dealings in Russia.

The curiousness of all this seems to center on Trump’s dismissal of allegations that Russian government hackers were trying to influence the 2016 presidential election at the time CIA and other intelligence agencies were saying they had proof that such activity was occurring.

The arc of this ongoing story might find its way back to the president’s continued refusal to release his tax returns for public review.

I have no clue where this story will end up. It frightens me that it might produce some ghastly information regarding Trump’s business interests inside of Russia and whether they involved direct dealings with a government that might have tried to manipulate our electoral process.

Trump, of course, denies any business dealings with Russian government authorities. He asks us to believe him, to take him at his word. Sure thing, Mr. President … just like you want us to believe the baloney about “millions of illegal immigrants” voting for Hillary Clinton or the lie you perpetuated about Barack Obama being born in Kenya..

Let’s get to the whole truth.

Hey … what happened to the Russian hacking story?

Events often overtake other events. News gets shoved aside when events bury them.

Such appears to be the case with the Russian hacking controversy.

Remember that one?

Donald J. Trump got elected president of the United States amid reports/rumors/allegations that Russian government computer geeks hacked into our electoral system in an attempt to aid Trump’s campaign.

The president has dismissed any kind of link. He has disparaged our intelligence agencies, which have concluded that the Russians played a role in hacking into our electoral process.

Isn’t it a big deal to have a foreign power — Russia, no less! — involved in such activity?

Well, it turns out that Trump has a way of changing the subject: executive order banning travel into the country from several Muslim-majority nations; strange confirmations of Cabinet officials; questions about his daughter’s line of clothing; his continual tweets criticizing federal judges; a Supreme Court nominee telling senators the president’s tweets are “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

All the while, the Russian hacking story has been tossed aside. It’s been pushed to the back of the bottom shelf, way behind the other stuff.

We still need some definitive answers about the Russians supposedly did and how they might have affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Amazing fight developing between ‘friendly’ neighbors

So it has come down to this.

Donald J. Trump trumpets the need for “better relations” with Russia while dismissing reports from U.S. intelligence officials say that Russian hackers tried to interfere in our presidential election.

Meanwhile, the president is spoiling for an all-out trade war with the nation that shares our southern border — Mexico — over that country’s refusal to pay for a wall that Trump wants to build along that entire border.

Is the new president mad, stupid — or both?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/pushed-into-corner-mexican-president-punches-back/ar-AAmi9Az?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

He’s also — apparently — lying about who canceled the meeting next week between himself and Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto. Trump said it was a mutual decision; Pena Nieto insists he broke it off.

You know what? I’m inclined to believe President Pena Nieto, given our own president’s lengthy history of prevarication.

Trump insists that Mexico will pay for the wall, which congressional leaders estimate could cost as much as $15 billion to build. How? Trump said he might impose a stiff trade tariff on all good imported from Mexico. How might Mexico respond? Oh, with a tariff of its own on all goods that country imports from the United States.

Yep. It could produce a serious trade war between two ostensibly friendly nations.

What in the name of all that is holy is Donald Trump trying to do?

Furthermore, he talks about Mexico as having the upper hand here. He said Mexico has to treat the United States “fairly.” Uh, news flash, Mr. President: We’re the big dog on this block.

Someone has to explain to me how the president can look so blindly at the threat posed by Russian hackers while getting his hackles up over Mexico’s refusal to knuckle under to demands that well might impugn that country’s sovereignty.