Tag Archives: Russian interference

Uh, Mr. President, Sen. McCain cannot respond

Mr. President, you need to give it a rest. Give it up. Stop invoking the memory of a generally respected — if not beloved — U.S. senator.

I refer to the late John McCain, whom you have decided to criticize posthumously yet again.

I get that Sen. McCain cast a critical vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. It still sticks in your craw. Good grief, man! Get over it!

Now you’ve decided to take on the late senator over his role in the release of that “dossier” involving Russian interference in our election.

Look, it was bad enough that you said Sen. McCain was a Vietnam War hero “only because he was captured.” And that you “like people who aren’t captured. OK?” That was an unforgivable denigration of an actual war hero who fought in a conflict that you managed to avoid — or evade — because of those dubious “bone spurs.”

Sen. McCain died this past summer after spending a lifetime serving the country he loved. Why do you insist on continuing this campaign against his memory? That you would disparage this career public servant who thrust himself into harm’s way in wartime is abhorrent on its face

The senator’s daughter — TV personality Meghan McCain — is right to respond to your ridiculous criticism by saying the country “never will love” you the way it does her father.

I know I might as well beseech the chair I’m sitting on at the moment for all the good it will do to implore you to exercise some common decency.

But I’ll try nevertheless.

Knock off the hideous criticism of someone who is unable to respond to your juvenile petulance.

The People’s House has spoken loudly about Mueller report

It doesn’t get much more explicit than that.

The U.S. House of Representatives, in a 420-0 vote, has approved a resolution demanding that special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report be released to the public once he submits it to Attorney General William Barr.

I want to thank the members of Congress for agreeing with me. And for agreeing with millions of their constituents who believe — as I do — that Mueller’s findings into whether Donald Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russians who had attacked our electoral system be made public.

Hey, it’s our money that has paid for this excruciating examination into the president’s affairs. Mueller, a former FBI director and a stellar lawyer, has spared no effort in the eyes of many to get to the root of the questions that have swirled around the presidency since before Donald Trump took the oath of office.

Trump has said it is “totally up” to Barr to decide whether to release the report. I wish I could depend on the president to be true to his word. But . . . I cannot. He is a serial liar.

However, the People’s House has spoken with a clear voice. Its members want the report released to the public.

I agree with them.

Now, let’s just wait for the special counsel to finish dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

Mea culpa: Mitt was right about Russia

It’s time to admit I was wrong about something back in 2012.

Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney — the freshman U.S. senator from Utah — declared that Russia was the nation’s No. 1 “geopolitical foe.”

I was among the Americans who scoffed at Sen. Romney’s assertion. I supported President Obama’s re-election and the president was seeking to make the case that Russia didn’t pose the threat that Romney said it did.

Obama was wrong. So was I. However, I take little comfort in knowing that millions of other Americans also were wrong.

We now are learning the hard truth about what Romney said in 2012. Russia has cemented its role as the nation’s premier threat.

Yes, we also have international terror organizations that pose serious and dire danger to this country. President Obama sought to tell Sen. Romney in 2012 during a presidential campaign debate that the “cold war has been over for 20 years.” While that is true, the Russia that emerged from the ashes of the Soviet Union has threatened the integrity of our electoral system.

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, doesn’t act as if he believes it. He gives Russian strongman/tyrant Vladimir Putin a pass on Russia’s 2016 electoral assault. He denigrates our nation’s intelligence network in the process.

None of us who criticized Mitt Romney in 2012 should be as blasé as Trump is about Russia. I am concerned about what Russia is capable of doing.

Does Russia pose a direct military threat to this country? I do not believe that is the case, although they do possess a substantial nuclear arsenal developed by the USSR.

Russia, though, is a third- or perhaps fourth-rate economic power.

However, the Russians are capable of inflicting significant damage via their cyber capabilities. They have done so already. They will do so again.

Thus, they pose the most serious threat to this nation.

Mitt Romney was right.

Mueller report delayed? Fine, I can wait

Robert Mueller was supposed to have handed his final report on The Russia Thing to Attorney General William Barr sometime next week.

Now it appears the special counsel won’t be doing so just yet.

Am I worried? Not in the least. I trust the former FBI director to do right by whatever it is he was asked to do when he took the job as the lead investigator into alleged collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian government operatives.

Mueller has been at this for some time. More than a year in fact. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein selected him to lead the probe after then AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything to do with the Russia matter.

You’ll recall the bipartisan praise that accompanied Mueller’s appointment. Democrats hailed it. So did Republicans. They all thought Rosenstein made an inspired choice. He couldn’t find a more qualified, more honorable, more integrity-filled individual that Robert Mueller to get to the bottom of The Russia Thing.

The president, sadly, has changed his tune. He calls the Mueller probe a witch hunt. He fired Sessions as AG. He selected a toadie as acting AG. He then found a solid veteran of the Justice Department, Barr, to lead the agency.

You can count me as one who wants the Mueller investigation to reach its conclusion. I had hoped he would release his findings to Barr sooner rather than later.

However, I am not dismayed. I still trust that Mueller is going to wrap it up, hand it over and I hope insist to the attorney general that the findings are made public.

Americans have a lot invested in this probe. Its findings are ours to peruse, to digest and to make judgments on what they reveal.

McCabe gets the nation’s attention

I wanted to watch the “60 Minutes” interview with former acting  FBI director Andrew McCabe partly because the teasers preceding it made it almost an irresistible bit of broadcast journalism.

The interview didn’t disappoint me.

Of all the assertions McCabe made during his interview with CBS correspondent Scott Pelley, the one that got my attention referred to a conversation McCabe had with Donald Trump regarding North Korea’s nuclear ambition.

Trump said he had received assurances from Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that the North Koreans were not developing first-strike nuclear capability. McCabe said he told the president that the U.S. intelligence analysis said precisely the opposite.

Then McCabe asserted that Trump said: “I don’t care. I believe Putin.”

My jaw dropped!

Let me stipulate that I am not going to jump on the treason/traitor haywagon that’s been seen circling around the White House. Some national security gurus and honchos are suggesting some serious crimes have been committed by the president.

Trump backs Putin

I’ll stick with what we’ve all witnessed in real time. Such as that Helsinki joint appearance with Trump and Putin in which the president bought into Putin’s denial about Russian interference in our 2016 election while disparaging U.S. intelligence analysis that said — yep! — the Russians did it.

McCabe’s statement to Pelley only confirms what we have seen and heard. What we don’t yet know is why in the world the president of the United States would believe the assertions of a killer over the very men and women who work to protect us from people like Putin.

Hoping new AG lets Mueller finish his task

I have hope that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has some deep inside knowledge that he’s now sharing with us.

The South Carolina Republican says that Attorney General-designate William Barr is going to let special counsel Robert Mueller finish the job he began more than a year ago. His task is to determine whether the allegations of “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system are true; he also is examining allegations of obstruction of justice, of conspiracy and perhaps all kinds of matters related to the 2016 election and beyond.

Trump selected Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions as AG, whom the president fired because he had the gall to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Sessions had the good sense to recognize potential conflicts of interest, given his role in the campaign and in the transition. He couldn’t investigate himself, so he handed it off to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Mueller is getting down to brass tacks, or so we are being led to believe. He has extended the term of a grand jury another six months. Mueller reportedly will finish his probe in late February or in March.

He needs to conclude this investigation on his own terms, under his own power and without interference from the new AG, or the White House or the president himself.

Rosenstein reportedly is going to leave DOJ after Barr gets confirmed. Barr will testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I am quite sure senators will ask him directly whether he intends to let Mueller do his job. Sen. Graham says he will.

Don’t tease us, Sen. Graham.

Vote recount = election theft? Hardly!

Donald J. Trump is so adept at tossing out unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations it’s getting difficult to zero in on matters deserving of comment.

But here’s one that does. The president has tweeted an allegation of electoral theft in Florida — without any evidence, quite naturally — because officials there have ordered a recount of ballots in the races for U.S. senator and for governor.

Democrats and Republicans are locked in vise-tight battles for both offices. Trump now has warned of possible theft of the election moments after the recounts were declared.

Hey, he’s a pro at this kind of fear-mongering. Remember how he contended that “millions of illegal aliens” voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, accounting for her nearly 3 million vote lead in the popular vote?

America is still waiting for proof of that allegation, Mr. President.

He once warned of a “rigged election” were he to lose the 2016 presidential contest. Hah! He won that election, but hasn’t said a disparaging word about the allegation over whether Russian interference might have “rigged” the results in his favor.

How about letting the recount proceed, Mr. President. We don’t need to hear another word from you on whether there’s any “theft” involved. If the Republicans end up winning the Senate seat and the governorship, at least they will have ensured that all the ballots are counted. The same thing will hold true as well even if the Democrats emerge victorious.

That’s how the system works.

No way should Mueller cut off the Russia probe

My ears are about to burst into flames. Or … maybe my head is about to explode, blowing my noggin into smithereens.

Donald Trump’s legal team — led by the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — keep yapping that special counsel Robert Mueller needs to call his examination of “The Russia Thing” to a halt. He needs to end it now, they say.

Giuliani suggests Mueller has done something potentially illegal. He ain’t spilling the beans, as if he has any beans to spill.

Look, Mueller is a former FBI director who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. He took office right after 9/11. He is a pro. He is a dedicated public servant. He is a decorated Marine who saw combat during the Vietnam War.

He also is a meticulous lawyer who has been tasked by the Department of Justice to find out whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Mueller’s appointment by DOJ also was hailed universally by Republicans and Democrats. Don’t you remember that? I damn sure do. He deserved the high praise he got from both sides of the aisle.

What’s changed? Only this, as far as I can tell: Mueller is tightening the rope around the White House and well might have discovered something hinky within the Trump campaign, even though the president keeps declaring there was “no collusion.”

I don’t want to take Donald Trump’s word for it. The president’s penchant for prevarication precludes anyone from taking anything he says seriously.

I prefer to hear the final verdict from Robert Mueller.

That is, if my ears don’t catch fire and my skull doesn’t explode listening to the rants from Donald Trump’s loudmouth legal eagles.

Grist for propagandists …

Take a good look at this picture. I don’t know who these fellows are. I only know that they’re wearing clothing that can be used as grist for propagandists.

The shirt says “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat.”

Funny, huh?

Do you think Vladimir Putin, sitting in his Kremlin office in Moscow, is going to use this shirt as a way of declaring victory in his effort to sow discord, distrust and despair among Americans?

Yes. He undoubtedly is enjoying the sight of guys like these two fellows and the sound of the anger being expressed throughout the United States of America.

Just how can they tolerate being undermined?

This is as baffling and confusing a circumstance as any I can find within the Donald Trump administration.

Several key intelligence and national security officials — including at least two Cabinet-level authorities — declare for all the world to hear that the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016; they all say the same thing, that the Russians acted alone and that they are in the process of doing the same thing to our 2018 midterm election. They enter the White House press room, listen to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders say a few words, then they all speak in unison.

Then the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, flies to a campaign rally and declares the Russian attack a “hoax.” He blames Democrats and the so-called “fake and disgusting news” for fomenting the notion that the Russians interfered in our election, that they sought to manipulate the outcome.

The baffling and confusing part?

How do these individuals charged with administering our intelligence and national security agencies tolerate being undermine, undercut and undone by the commander in chief?

How in the name of their sacred oaths do they stay on their jobs while the president continues to disparage and disrespect them? He undermines their work, insults their intelligence and does damage to our national security.

Surely they cannot all be without principles. Surely they must understand what Donald Trump is doing to their credibility and that his insistence that the Russia attack is a “hoax” gives aid and comfort to a hostile foreign power.

I won’t call it “treason,” at least not yet … but damn!

It is inching very close to it.