Tag Archives: Russian interference

‘We’ll negotiate’ … what?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There he was, standing before a crowd of worshipers ranting in a riff about a “rigged” election and making what I consider to be a rather startling declaration if — heaven forbid — he actually wins re-election.

Donald Trump said “We’ll negotiate” a way to stay in office past a second presidential term.

I damn near shook the glasses off my face at that one.

Trump keeps yapping about how badly he was treated during much of his current term in office. About the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged “collusion” with Russians seeking to interfere in our election. About the House of Representatives impeaching of Trump over abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. About the ongoing findings by intelligence officials that Mueller was right, that the Russians did interfere.

So what does Trump propose to do at the end of a — gulp! — second term? He wants to see how he circumvent the U.S. Constitution to finagle a third term in office.

The Trumpkins arrayed before him at the Nevada political rally cheered Trump’s ridiculous call to “negotiate.” They likely don’t believe that what he said is practically impossible. That he is likely just saying such a thing to rile up the “base.” That it’s just campaign-trail grist.

The 22nd Amendment that limits presidents to two elected terms is rock solid. It won’t be tinkered with by a goofball who thinks he is above the law, which I should add got him in trouble with the House that impeached him.

I just have to circle back to the most fundamental question of the moment: How can we allow a president who makes these kinds of ridiculous assertions to stay anywhere near the White House?

Get him outta there!

Trump defames elections officials

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s incessant and profoundly absurd claim of a “rigged election” in the event of a loss to Joseph Biden rubs me raw at so many levels.

I keep wondering how county elections officials, regardless of their political affiliation, must feel when they hear Trump make those terrible and defamatory assertions about the fairness of the election in case he comes up short.

If you’re a county clerk and you run an election office you must wonder just how Trump believes you can “rig” an election to push Biden across the finish line ahead of the incumbent president.

I have known a number of county clerks in Texas and in Oregon, where I worked in journalism for all those years, and to a person — man or woman, Republican or Democrat — they are dedicated to their profession. They all take an oath to defend the same Constitution that the president swears to defend. They all swear to follow the law and to ensure that everything they do is above board.

However, we keep hearing from Donald Trump that they won’t do what they swear to do if they preside over an election system that produces a winner whose name isn’t “Trump.”

How in the name of good government can this fellow get away with making these specious, egregious and ridiculous allegations?

Donald Trump clearly is the first president in U.S. history to cast such a forbidding pall over a system we know has been compromised already by Russian spooks working to elect Trump in 2016. Indeed, the Russian interference four years ago and their second act that is underway as we sit here makes me wonder whether the “rigging” is working in reverse of what Trump says will occur if he loses his re-election effort against Biden.

None of that will shut the motormouth of Donald Trump. He will continue to defame local election officials. There is no other way to describe what he is doing.

It is defamatory language fit only for an autocratic demagogue. It has no place in a representative democracy that prides itself on the fairness of its electoral system.

Russians are at it again … imagine that!

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Russia has its favorite American political candidate. His name is Donald J. Trump. Russia is doing precisely what Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, said it would do: attack our electoral system just as it did in 2016.

Is Donald Trump going to express any outrage over it? Is he going to meet with Republicans and Democrats in Congress seeking to find meaningful sanctions to levy against Russia?

No and no.

What in the name of electoral sanctity does it take for the Trumpkin Corps to wake up to the reality that their guy poses an existential threat to our democratic way of life?

He invited the Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign; the Russians obliged. Trump stood with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and openly denigrated U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in 2016; he sided with Putin. Robert Mueller got the task of investigating all of that and determined that Russia had attacked our election and said it would do so again. He was right. Trump’s response has been to disparage Mueller’s findings.

Trump hasn’t yet said a single critical word about Putin’s chicanery. He spoke on the phone with the Russian strongman, but didn’t bring up the issue of Russian electoral interference … or the issue of Russian goons placing bounties on the lives of American service personnel killed in battle against the Taliban.

Where I come from that is called “dereliction of duty.”

And yet, the Trump faithful continues to give him a pass. Whatever they might feel privately they keep strictly to themselves. The public outrage is nowhere to be seen or heard.

Donald Trump has become the most dangerous existential threat to the nation he was elected to govern. The Russians know it and, in my view, that is precisely the reason they are seeking to work on behalf of his re-election.

Trump piles on a new charge without evidence

Donald Trump’s list of unsubstantiated allegations keeps growing.

He now has accused former President Barack Obama of committing a crime. The crime alleges something to do with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether President Obama conspired with the FBI to investigate whether Flynn had conspired with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

When reporters asked Trump about “Obamagate,” he said the media know the nature of the crime.

This is disgraceful.

It comes from the Imbecile in Chief who has alleged that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016; he accused the Obama administration of “spying” on his campaign; now he has launched new conspiracy campaign against his immediate presidential predecessor.

Donald Trump is channeling the shady ghost of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the infamous commie-hunter from Wisconsin who smeared the reputations of dozens of public servants in the 1950s.

Only this time Trump is actually one-upping McCarthy by accusing his predecessor of committing a crime, which is tantamount to what he is alleging with this Flynn business.

He calls the Obama administration “the most corrupt” in U.S. history, which is laughable on its face, given that so many of Trump’s former associates, campaign aides have pleaded guilty to criminal activity.

Michael Flynn is one of them. He pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about the Russian attack on our election. Then he took it back. Now he has the Justice Department seeking to have the guilty plea wiped off the books.

So now we have Donald Trump seeking yet another diversion from reality by leveling a specious allegation against Barack Obama.

Astonishing.

Barr joins the cabal of disagrace

I had harbored some hope that William Barr would bring some integrity to the Donald Trump administration when he accepted the president’s nomination to lead the Department of Justice.

After all, he had served as attorney general in the early 1990s near the end of President George H.W. Bush’s term in office. He served then with honor and dignity.

I was terribly and tragically wrong. The attorney general’s latest recommendation that former national security adviser Michael Flynn avoid prosecution for lying to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence about the Russia attack on our electoral system in 2016.

Flynn has pleaded guilty twice to committing perjury. Now we hear Barr suggest that his lying wasn’t “material” to the investigation into whether Russia interfered in our election.

Here, though, comes a stunner: Nearly 2,000 former DOJ staffers have demanded Barr’s resignation. It reminds me of something a former editor of mine used to say: If someone calls you an ass, blow it off; if others call you an ass, then you need to shop for a saddle.

So now the AG has a couple thousand former DOJ lawyers and others calling him an ass.

As NBC News reports: The letter urges the judge who is in charge of the Flynn case, Emmet Sullivan, to “take a long, hard look at the government’s explanation and the evidence.” Barr is using the Justice Department to further President Donald Trump’s personal and political interests, it says, and “has undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”

The good news is that the judge to whom Flynn entered the guilty pleas must sign off on Barr’s request. Judge Sullivan is known to be an independent thinker, which of course gets to the beauty of the federal judicial system; these judges are appointed for life and, thus, are ostensibly removed from partisan considerations.

As for Barr, the letter signed by those thousands of DOJ staffers asks Congress to censure the AG. Just think, too, that many of those who signed the letter worked in Justice Departments under Democratic and Republican administrations.

Lastly, take a good look at the picture attached to this blog post. Barr is standing in front of a bust of the man after whom the Justice Department building is named: Robert F. Kennedy, the AG from 1961 to 1964. I can say with absolute certainty that RFK would be aghast and appalled at where William Barr has taken the Department of Justice.

Trump to Sessions: I don’t love you any longer

This is a political story I don’t recall ever seeing … until now.

Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign has told U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions to cease saying that he’s a 100-percent Trump supporter as he campaigns for election to the Senate from Alabama.

You see, Sessions once served as attorney general in the Trump administration. Then he recused himself — properly, in my view — from any active role in the “Russia thing” involving allegations of collusion with Russians who were interfering in our 2016 presidential election. He enraged Trump, who fired him.

Sessions had served previously in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Trump. He and Trump were joined at the hip.

That was then. The seat he once occupied is now filled by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Sessions has been declaring how much of a Trump fan he remains. The president is having none of it. He wants Sessions to stop using the Trump name in his campaign ads.

Trump’s campaign says the president does not favor Sessions’ election to the Senate. He has backed Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach at Auburn and Texas Tech.

I just want to note that none of the Sessions ads I have seen has said a word that declares that Trump wants the former AG back in the Senate, only that Sessions is with Trump all the way.

Hmm. I guess the grudge-bearing president wants to make a point that one would figure he wouldn’t need to make.

Russians engaging in ‘strategic’ interference?

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Hmm. Let’s see how this might play out.

Russia has re-entered the U.S. presidential election by trying to help Donald Trump win re-election. U.S. intelligence analysts have said as much to the president and to congressional leaders, prompting Trump to fire the acting director of national intelligence and replace him with a fierce loyalist

You got that? OK. Let’s look at the other side of it.

Russia also is helping Bernie Sanders, now the leading Democratic challenger to Trump. Sen. Sanders had a briefing on that bit of news. Why help Sanders? I’ll take a stab at it.

The Russians want the Democrats to nominate arguably the least electable challenger to Trump, enabling the president to cruise to re-election.

Sanders keeps talking about his own electability, how he’s going to get average Americans to rally to his side as he campaigns against Trump … assuming, of course, he gets the nomination.

I’m not sold on that notion. My strong hunch is that Russia is trying to sow deep division within the Democratic Party, which plays squarely into Donald Trump’s wheelhouse, paving the way to his re-election.

Just a thought.

Trump denies Russians are helping him … imagine that!

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Of course Donald John Trump would deny the Russians are helping him win re-election.

Of course, too, that he would blame the story on Democrats seeking to undermine his effort to win a second presidential term.

Except for this known fact: The president asked another foreign government, Ukraine, to help him win re-election by digging up dirt on a potential political rival. There’s also the denial that Russians delivered in Trump’s presence, which Trump endorsed despite the analysis of the U.S. intelligence network.

Donald Trump’s corrupt tendencies are on full display as this story continues to grow more legs and wings.

Trump fired former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire because the former DNI had the temerity to brief congressional leaders of both parties about what his office had learned, that Russians are working to attack our electoral system this year, just as they did in 2016. The source of Trump’s anger? That Maguire would tell Democrats while doing his job as the nation’s top intelligence officer.

He now has installed Richard Grenell, a longstanding Trump loyalist, as the latest acting DNI. Grenell has no intelligence experience; he has no background on which to draw even as he fills this post on a temporary basis. He’s a Trump toadie who won’t give an honest and unvarnished assessment of national security threats to the commander in chief.

You want more corruption evidence? How about reports that Trump has instructed the White House personnel office to purge the administration of anyone who has even whispered a negative statement about the president? He wants nothing but yes men and women.

Donald Trump scares the daylights out of me.

The Russians did it … dammit!

Republicans who have circled the wagons around Donald J. Trump keep repeating yet another lie about Russia and the goons who attacked our election in 2016.

I am about to scream at the top of the lungs!

They keep trying to implicate Ukraine as at minimum a co-conspirator in the attack on our electoral system that aimed to help elect Donald Trump.

Wait a second!

The CIA has said the Russians, all by themselves, did it. The Director of National Intelligence said the same thing. So has the FBI. And the National Security Agency. Same for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Russians did it! The Russians are fomenting the Ukraine lie and the GOP — led by Donald Trump — is parroting the rhetoric being spit out by the Russian propaganda machine.

I cannot stand listening to this lie. When will the leadership of the once-Grand Old Party listen to the truth?

POTUS becomes Russian disinformation mouthpiece … unbelievable!

It wasn’t enough that Donald Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and said he believed Putin’s denial of Russian interference in our 2016 electoral system.

Oh, no. Nor was it enough that he denigrated our intelligence network’s assertion that the Russians did what was alleged.

Now he has adopted the Russian lyric that Ukraine played a major role in the 2016 election hack. He is helping the Russia propaganda machine spread the lie that the U.S. intelligence experts have debunked.

The director of national intelligence, the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Treasury Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff … they all say the same thing. The Russians did it!

And yet the president of the United States continues to double down on the lie being pushed by the Russians and endorsed by congressional Republicans who are dissing Ukraine as part of their strategy to defend the president against the impeachment wave that is swelling in the House of Representatives.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing an astonishing act of political malfeasance by the president.

He is defending the Russian strongman/president yet again critics here at home who view the Russians as an existential threat to the integrity of our electoral system. The Russians have embarked on a campaign to do to the 2020 election what they did in 2016.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller III told us this past summer that the Russians are mobilizing their election interference machine at this moment. He endorsed fully the intelligence community’s assessment that the Russians pose the threat to our democratic electoral system.

Donald Trump took an oath to protect our system against such an outright attack. He has forsaken that oath for personal political gain.

Shameful.