Tag Archives: Russian hacking

More defamation is coming from Trump

My vertigo is getting serious as I listen to Donald J. Trump’s latest 180-degree pivot on that so-called “Russia thing.”

The man who has called the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election a “hoax” and a product of “fake news” now has defamed his immediate predecessor — again!

Trump says Barack H. Obama “colluded” with Russians to influence the election. He says Hillary Clinton did, too.

This man, the president, make no sense … at all! None. He blathers, bloviates and blusters about this and that. He cannot differentiate between fact and fiction. He has just promulgated another fictitious story line — a lie, if you will — about President Obama.

Trump seemed to dovetail from a Washington Post story that details in tremendous detail about the Obama administration’s struggle to deal with Russian hacking in advance of this past year’s election. Then he went further, suggesting that Obama’s flinching on action against Russia means he colluded with them.

How does this make sense? U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia sought to influence the election to favor Trump. He now seems to suggest that Obama worked with the Russians to elect the fellow who was running against Obama’s preferred candidate: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Here is what Trump tweeted:

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to ‘rock the boat,'” Trump wrote before 9 a.m. in Washington. “He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/politics/-62484-trump-blames-obama-for-russia-once-again/

This crap comes from the president of the United States, our head of state, our commander in chief? Oh, brother.

I need to sit down.

‘Hoax’ becomes fodder for blame-shifting?

I need to follow this stuff more carefully, I reckon.

Donald John Trump had been telling us that the Russian-meddling story was a “hoax,” a product of “fake news,” a figment of progressives’ and Democrats’ overactive imagination.

The president has yet to condemn the Russians for doing what intelligence agencies have concluded, which is that they sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through use of cyber activity.

Oh, but then comes this. He now blames the Obama administration for failing to stop the Russians in their tracks when President Obama was in office.

Which is it, Mr. President? Is the Russia story a made-up tale of intrigue meant to discredit your election as commander in chief? Or is it the real thing, something that now enables you to shift responsibility for ending it to your immediate predecessor as president of the United States?

Good grief, Mr. President? Keep it straight for us.

Where is the outrage?

Back in 1996, when he was running for president of the United States, Republican nominee Bob Dole shouted at campaign rallies “Where’s the outrage!” over alleged indiscretions about President Clinton.

He would go on to lose the election bigly, but the question persists to this day.

Where is the outrage — from the current president of the United States — over allegations that Russian government officials sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election?

Donald John Trump has said nary a disparaging word about Russia’s efforts to cast Hillary Rodham Clinton in a negative light and whether those efforts played a role in the election outcome.

Oh, no. The president has instead lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, calling his investigation the “biggest political witch hunt” in American political history. He has ripped into what he calls “fake news” media outlets. He has dismissed openly the analysis of several U.S. intelligence agencies’ view that, yes, the Russians did hack into our electoral system.

Rather than expressing anger, fear and outrage that the Russians meddled in our electoral system, the president instead has questioned the need to determine the truth and the motives of those who are seeking to find it.

He’s hired a team of lawyers to represent him, which is a tacit acknowledgment that he is under investigation by Mueller over his campaign’s possible role in that election-meddling. Then one of them goes on television over the weekend and says — in the same interview — that Trump is being investigated by Mueller and that he is not being investigated.

All the while, the president remains stone-cold silent about Russian hanky-panky.

Where is the outrage, Mr. President?

POTUS under investigation for obstruction of justice, after all

If you doubted whether James Comey’s testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee got anyone’s attention, a report in the Washington Post has provided your answer.

The Post has reported that Donald John Trump, the 45th president of the United States, is under investigation for “possible obstruction of justice.”

Who is doing the investigating? That would be special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed to his job by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Why the deputy AG? Because the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from anything to do with the Russia matter that is swirling all around the president.

This is getting a bit, um, testy … don’t you think?

Trump fired Comey because of what he called “the Russia thing,” and after Comey reportedly told Trump that the president wasn’t personally under investigation by the FBI. At issue, in case you don’t know, is whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign.

We will need to hold on with both hands as this probe continues.

Mueller has enormous authority to proceed with this probe. There will be many traps to run, many leads to pursue, many tips to ferret out.

Many of us are wondering: Did the president ask Comey to shut down his probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s relationship with Russian officials? And did that request constitute an obstruction of justice?

I should note, too, that Mueller also is a former FBI director, so the man has some serious investigative chops.

In the midst of all this are reports circulating that Trump considered firing Mueller, but was talked out of it by senior White House staffers.

Oh … brother. Let’s all hang on.

Let’s get to the heart of this hacking matter

As a frequent critic of Donald J. Trump, I want to set the record straight on a key issue that’s threatening the man’s presidency.

I do not give a rat’s rear end about whether alleged attempts by Russian agents to influence the 2016 presidential election actually created a Trump victory. I accept the notion that Trump would have won the election anyway.

What is troubling me is the question of what role — if any — the Trump campaign had in assisting the Russians.

Former FBI Director James Comey told U.S. Senate committee members today that he is certain of Russian meddling in our election. I accept the FBI director’s opinion on that, too.

I keep circling back to the question of whether Trump’s team actively aided the Russian hackers. If they didn’t aid them, did they know about any attempts to influence the election? If they knew and did nothing, that to me is tantamount to collusion — even if it doesn’t fit the legal definition of the word.

We keep hearing reports of key Trump campaign advisers meeting with Russians during the campaign and then during the transition. It all gets back to the Watergate-era question posed by then-Sen. Howard Baker: What did the president know — and when did he know it?

As for the whether the hacking/meddling actually proved decisive, that they changed enough votes to swing the results in favor of Trump and away from Hillary Rodham Clinton, it doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is that they have done what all those intelligence agencies have said they did. The former director of the FBI has confirmed it to my satisfaction.

If the Trump campaign colluded, dear reader, we are looking at a charge of treason.

Congressional clown act isn’t so funny

The clowns who comprise a substantial portion of the U.S. Congress seem intent on deflecting criticism of the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

They are staking out an openly transparent — and dubious — strategy in that attempt.

Donald J. Trump canned Comey while the FBI director was in the midst of an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government’s effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

It’s the timing of the dismissal that has drawn the incoming fire.

Congressional Republicans are defending the president’s action by saying something like this: Leftists are angry because Trump did something they wanted done this past autumn when Comey sent Congress that letter regarding Hillary Clinton’s e-mails; so now that they’re getting what they wanted in the first place, they should be happy, not angry.

I heard Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., make that argument this morning. I damn near pitched something heavy at my TV set.

That is not the issue, Sen. Paul!

It’s the timing, dude. The timing!

I’m one of those Americans who was angry at Comey for releasing that letter to Congress just 11 days before the presidential election. He sought to inform lawmakers that his office had found some more e-mails that needed some examination. It likely helped stall Clinton’s march to victory, although I am not going to heap all the cause for Hillary’s defeat on the FBI director; she and her campaign made plenty of mistakes all by themselves while Trump and his team were doing things right.

Did I ever think Comey should resign, or should be fired?

In addition to the timing of Trump’s dismissing of Comey we have this White House’s stumble-bum explanation, which simply doesn’t hold up. The president said he was upset at the way Comey handled the Hillary e-mail matter. What the …?! Donald Trump the candidate thought Comey had done exactly the correct thing at the time — and he said so repeatedly as news was breaking in October.

Then we hear that Trump became angry because Comey was exerting too much energy on the Russia hacking matter, but then comes word from some in the White House that the firing had nothing to do with the Russia investigation. Holy mackerel!

Deputy White House press flack Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s time to “move on,” away from the Russia matter. Oh, no it isn’t, young lady! Far from it.

But this crap from congressional Republicans and Trumpkins all across the land that those who are critical of the firing are the same folks who wanted Comey canned in the first place are missing the point by a country mile.

Timing, as they say, is everything.

Time for an independent counsel

Here is a copy of the letter that Donald John Trump sent to former FBI Director James Comey informing him that he was being relieved of his duties immediately.

No expression of thanks for Comey’s service to nation is here. No salute for Comey’s work at the FBI or as U.S. attorney in New York state. All we get here is some expression of thanks that Comey told the president he wasn’t being investigated.

This stunning development, though, is crawling with back stories.

One of them involves why the president praised Comey so effusively on the eve of Election Day. Why did the president declare that Comey was such an excellent public servant after he sent that letter to Congress informing lawmakers of his intention to look yet again at those e-mails that Hillary Clinton sent out when she served as secretary of state. Back then Comey seemed to be a candidate for sainthood, the Nobel Prize and perhaps even a spot on Mount Rushmore.

Today, though, Comey’s name is mud. Trump reportedly is angry that Comey “wasn’t doing a good job.”

Oh, but wait. Now we hear that Comey sought more money and manpower to step up his investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian government officials who were hacking into our electoral system.

One more thing: We now hear that Trump was “thinking about” getting rid of Comey since right after the 2016 presidential election. Sure thing. Was the president also “thinking about” bungee jumping off the Washington Monument?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today he won’t appoint a special prosecutor.

Are we now expected to believe that Donald Trump is going to appoint someone to continue an investigation into his own administration and his own campaign and whether something improper occurred between Trump and a foreign power?

I believe the concerns coming from congressional Democrats and Republicans. They are labeling this controversy as a full-blown constitutional crisis.

We need an independent counsel to grab this investigation by the throat.

No, ma’am, it’s not yet ‘time to move on’

Sarah Huckabee Sanders gets paid to do the bidding of the president of the United States.

However, the deputy White House press secretary should know better than to insult Americans’ intelligence with a goofy assertion about it being “time to move on” from questions swirling about Donald Trump’s campaign and its possible link to Russian government operatives.

We’ve got a lot more ground to cover, young lady, especially in light of the president’s abrupt firing today of FBI Director James Comey.

With that, I would urge you to tell your boss — the president — something he needs to hear, but likely won’t want to hear. It is that these questions won’t blow away with the wind until he comes clean about what he knew, when he knew and who was doing it.

The “it” happens to involve questions about whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian hackers seeking to swing the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. He keeps dismissing the questions out of hand. He suggests that “anyone” could have done the hacking; yet he never fingers the Russians directly.

All of these dismissals, all this obfuscation, all the maneuvering only lend credence to the suspicion in many circles that the president is trying mightily to keep information from the public — from those he now governs as head of state.

Time to move on, Sarah Sanders? Hardly.

Sanders said: “Frankly, it’s kind of getting absurd. There’s nothing there. We’ve heard that time and time again. We’ve heard that in the testimonies earlier this week. We’ve heard it for the last 11 months. There is no ‘there’ there.

“It’s time to move on and frankly it’s time to focus on the things the American people care about.”

I happen to “care about ” knowing whether the president worked with a foreign government to influence our election. I suspect I am not the only American with such concerns.

Maybe the Senate panel can hold it together

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner have something in common.

They are the chairman and ranking Democratic member, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is in the midst of a probe into whether Russian spooks colluded with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to influence the 2016 election.

But their commonality? It rests in the dysfunction occurring with the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Devin Nunes is under increasing fire over allegations that he has compromised himself because of his coziness with the president.

The House panel has been high-centered over the controversy. Meanwhile, Sens. Burr and Warner pledge to remain cooperative and to ensure that their committee proceeds with all deliberate speed to get the facts out.

Many of their fellow Americans — including yours truly — are hoping that they can uphold their pledge.

My own belief is that there needs to be a special prosecutor to do the job that Congress seems incapable of doing, which is to scour the evidence completely to learn whether there was any collusion.

However, I am ready to accept Burr and Warner making a solemn promise to keep their investigation on track.

Rest assured, senators. A lot of us out here are going to hold your feet to the fire.

Time for Thornberry to step up on this Russia matter?

I’ve been scrolling through U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry’s website, looking for something topical and current about the “Russia story,” the one dealing with Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Russians used cyber attacks to hack into Democratic Party files. They disseminated unflattering information about Hillary Rodham Clinton. They sought to swing the election in Donald J. Trump’s favor.

That’s what intelligence experts have said. Everyone believes the analysis, except for Trump. He’s dissing the intelligence community.

Thornberry, as near as I can tell, has been quiet on this issue.

Where does Thornberry fit into all of this? Well, the Clarendon Republican chairs the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He also once chaired a Republican-led congressional task force that was supposed to make recommendations to protect our national computer systems against attacks such as the one mounted by the Russians.

His website has a lot of interesting tabs. One of them is marked “Issues.” I found this item:

http://thornberry.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=44735

It’s a policy paper on cybersecurity. It’s all quite interesting … if you are fluent in cyberspeak. 

I looked at it carefully and didn’t see any mention of the current issue: Russian hacking and meddling in our electoral process.

For that matter, as I looked at Thornberry’s press releases I saw no mention there, either, of what has transpired with regard to the Russian-meddling-interference.

I go back a number of years with Rep. Thornberry. I have joked with him over the years that he and I started new careers in the Texas Panhandle at the same time. He took office in January 1995 — after being elected to the House in that historic 1994 election — just days before I arrived to become editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. I have watched him carefully for most of the past 22 years.

I am waiting to hear from him, though, on this Russia hacking matter. He once was the Republicans’ go-to guy on cybersecurity. Is he no longer that guy?

I know Thornberry is aware of the seriousness of this still-developing story. My hope is that my congressman will contribute significantly — and soon — to the growing public discussion about the integrity of our electoral process.