Tag Archives: Russian interference

Isn’t an attack on our electoral system … an attack on U.S.?

I would have thought that a documented, proven attack by a foreign hostile power on our electoral system would produce an all-out, full-throttle, frontal assault on future attacks.

I must have been mistaken.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is going to prevent any consideration of election security measures by the Senate. McConnell, a Republican lawmaker, has taken aim at Democratic senators’ election security measures, calling them some sort of “Democrat protection” notion.

If we take the long view, we need to grasp what happened in 2016 and again in 2018. Russian government agents hacked into our electoral system. They interfered in our presidential election three years ago. They sought to help Donald Trump get elected president. Our nation’s top intelligence analysts have said the same thing: The Russians did it!

Why aren’t members of the House and Senate debating some measure to prevent this kind of electoral sabotage in the future?

I shudder to think that McConnell is running interference for the president who recently has referred to the 2016 attack as a “Russian hoax.”

What else am I going to conclude?

Gates, hardly a flaming lib, weighs in on ‘case closed’ claim

Robert Gates is no one’s flaming liberal. He’s a lifelong Republican who served as defense secretary for — get set! — Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack H. Obama.

Gates’ bipartisan credentials are, thus, set. So, when he says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration that it’s “case closed” regarding the Russian attack on our electoral system is flat wrong, well, I’m inclined to listen to him.

Gates has suggested that the Trump administration’s response to the Russian attack has been tepid and weak-kneed.

He said this on “Face the Nation” today: “And frankly, I think elected officials who depend on honest elections to get elected ought to place as a very high priority measures to protect the American electoral system against interference by foreigners.”

Gates doesn’t believe the Trump team has made those measures a “very high priority.” Gee! Do ya think?

I remained baffled and astonished that Donald Trump would stand next to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and actually disparage U.S. intelligence analyses that Russians interfered in our election in 2016, and then went on to say he didn’t see “why they would.”

The president was wrong. Stubbornly wrong at that.

Robert Gates has served at the pinnacle of power in administrations governed by presidents of both major parties. He is not the partisan hack that clearly fits the description of the Senate majority leader.

This case is not “closed.” Nor is the matter involving the obstruction of justice charge that special counsel Robert Mueller left wide open in his 448-page report.

Case closed? Not . . . even . . . close!

Mueller holds the key to Trump impeachment

It’s not yet clear whether the former special counsel, Robert Mueller, will talk openly and publicly to Congress about that investigation he conducted into The Russia Thing.

I surely want him to take an oath to tell the truth and then answer questions from House and Senate committees about how he arrived at his findings. He determined that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign did not conspire to collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system. To borrow a quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Case closed.

The other question involves obstruction of justice.

Here’s where I believe Mueller’s testimony could be the Mother of Game Changers as it regards Donald Trump.

Someone on a pertinent committee is going to ask Mueller — a top-notch lawyer and a former FBI director — this question: Did the president of the United States break the law by obstructing justice in the investigation into the Russian interference?

Mueller has said he could not file a formal complaint against the president of the United States, following Department of Justice guidelines. He did not “clear” Trump of any crime. Mueller merely said he couldn’t indict Trump because he is the president.

But the question is out there: Did the POTUS break the law?

There well could be a game of rhetorical gymnastics as Mueller tries to dodge the question. It might take an equally nimble senator or House member to flush the answer out of Mueller.

However, he if says “yes, the president broke the law,” then I believe we well might have grounds to impeach POTUS.

However, and this remains a huge caveat: Would such an admission by Robert Mueller actually shake Senate Republicans loose from Trump’s political vise grip to put the president in jeopardy if an indictment finds its way to the Senate, where the president would stand trial?

My hope would be that it would. My fear is that GOP cowardice would remain too strong to toss aside.

Just keep saying it, Mr. POTUS; it’s still a lie

Donald Trump must believe in the theory that if you say something often enough — regardless of its fallacy — that people will eventually believe it to be true.

I refer to “no collusion, no obstruction,” the mantra of the moment for the president of the United States.

I am running out of ways to say this, but I’ll try it yet again.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians who hacked into our electoral system came up empty. Mueller didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy to collude with the Russians. That particular case is closed.

I do get that. Honestly. I really do.

The obstruction matter is wide open. Mueller has said so. He said in his 448-page report, which Attorney General William Barr has let the world see, declares that Mueller’s team could not conclude that Trump and his campaign team did not obstruct justice; if they could have done so, they would have, Mueller said.

So, the obstruction issue remains an open — and quite inviting target — for Congress to pursue.

I’ve got some social media contacts who keep yapping at me because I won’t acknowledge that Mueller found no evidence of “obstruction.” One of those contacts actually is a friend of mine . . . who happens to be a Trumpkin. Hey, I still love my good buddy.

I regret, though, that he has bought into the Trump mantra of “no obstruction.”

To my dear friend and to others who happen to read these musings from me, I just need to reiterate for the umpteenth time: The case for obstruction of justice is far from being settled. Those 500 or so former federal prosecutors — who worked for Democratic and Republican administrations — all signed that letter that declared that had Trump not been president, he would have been indicted for obstruction of justice.

Let’s allow this matter to run its course.

Why block Mueller if there’s nothing to hide?

I admit readily at times to being a little slow on the uptake.

That said, I am left to wonder: If the president of the United States has been “totally exonerated” of any criminal activity, if he is as pure as fresh snow, if he has been the victim of the worst “witch hunt” since the Salem Witch Trials, why is he suggesting that Robert Mueller “should not testify” before congressional committees?

Robert Mueller is the special counsel who filed that 448-page report that cleared Donald Trump of conspiracy to collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. However, he took a pass on whether the president obstructed justice. Mueller did not clear Trump of obstructing, but lacked sufficient evidence, he said, to file a criminal complaint.

Is that “exoneration”? Nope. It isn’t. Mueller said so in his report.

But the president keeps saying he’s in the clear. He keeps yapping about the witch hunt. He now endorses the notion that his term should be extended two years to make up for the time “stolen” by Mueller’s probe into The Russia Thing.

Why not let the former FBI director and a man of impeccable integrity tell Congress what he knows? Hey, the president says he’s in the clear. Let’s allow Mueller to affirm what the president has said.

Oh, wait! Except that he won’t do anything of the sort.

OK, that’s why Trump is digging in against Mueller talking to Congress. I get it.

Stop the ‘what about-ism’ with election interference

I totally understand that the Russian attack on our electoral system during the 2016 presidential election occurred during President Obama’s administration.

I’ve noted as much in this blog.

That all said, I am growing weary of Donald Trump’s team reminding us of that while suggesting that the current president is taking steps to ensure that it won’t happen again.


It’s not happening. FBI director Christopher Wray has reminded us that the Russians conducted a comprehensive attack on our system in 2016; they doubled down in 2018; and they are now preparing to engage in what Wray called “the big show,” which is the 2020 presidential election.

The Trump administration needs to demonstrate graphically that it is in fact taking measures to ensure that the Russians will not do once again what they have done in our nation’s most two most recent election cycles.

White House press secretary — and serial liar — Sarah Huckabee Sanders told us yet again that the Obama administration is the real villain here.

No! She’s got it wrong! Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that Vladimir Putin is the No. 1 bad guy betrays the president’s lack of commitment to protecting the nation’s election system against a foreign hostile power.

Uh, Mr. POTUS, the Russia probe was no ‘hoax’

Donald Trump and his BFF, Vladimir Putin, reportedly chatted this week by telephone.

The U.S. and Russian presidents talked about a lot of matters, according to Trump, but they didn’t discuss the one issue that looms like a colossus over both of them.

It’s that matter of Russian interference/attack on our electoral system in 2016.

Oh, but then Trump said he referred to the investigation into that issue “the Russian hoax.” Trump still seems to ignore what every single high-ranking U.S. intelligence official has said out loud: The Russian attacked our electoral system.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel who looked into allegations of “collusion” and possible obstruction of justice, was the latest of them to say the same thing. He said the Russian attack was “sweeping and systematic.”

Trump isn’t buying it. He calls it all a “hoax.” The attack itself. The investigation into it. The impact it likely had on the result of the 2016 election. None of it happened, Trump appears to say.

Yep, he buys instead into Vladimir Putin’s alleged denial that he did anything untoward during the election.

I’m not altogether certain why I keep saying what is so patently obvious to everyone, but I’ll keep saying it. The Russians are bad actors. They are not our friends. They won’t be our friends as long as they governed by a former KGB spy whose job was built on lies and deception.

Yet the president said yet again after chatting with Putin that being “friends” with Russia is a good thing. Sure it is. Only if Putin is out of the picture. That, of course, won’t happen.

The Russians attacked us. It is the farthest thing possible from a “hoax.” Robert Mueller’s investigation sought to determine whether there was a conspiracy to collude with Russians who launched that attack. The investigation was no “hoax,” either.

It was done by a highly credible, dedicated, and heroic public servant. Robert Mueller deserves praise — not condemnation — from the president of the United States.

Trump and Putin deserve each other. This nation, the one Donald Trump supposedly leads, deserve far better than it is getting from its president.

Russia, not the media, is the ‘enemy of people’

I already have stated my regret at dismissing Mitt Romney’s assertion in 2012 that Russia was this nation’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” He was right; those of us who criticized him were wrong.

Moreover, I also have stated — and restated countless times — my belief that Donald Trump should accept that reality and start treating the Russian government as the “enemy” it is.

I’m going to do so yet again. It likely won’t be the final time, either.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, in a talk before the Council on Foreign Relations this past week, said the Russians are working 24/7/365 at trying to undermine our electoral system. They did it in 2016, he said, and again in 2018. They are hard at work setting the table for what he called “the big show,” which would be the 2020 presidential election.

Where is the president on all of this? He’s nowhere, man.

Instead, he is attacking the media, Democrats, special counsel Robert Mueller, climate change advocates, abortion-rights activists. Political foes are fair game.

Russian President Vladimir Putin remains somehow protected from the same level of outrage that Trump levels at his domestic opponents. Why in the world is that the case?

Perhaps that is the question that the 2020 campaign will flesh out over time.

Trump stood before the media in Helsinki and trashed his intelligence and counterterrorism experts and accepted Putin’s denial that the Russians interfered in our election. He has continued to denigrate the intelligence community and continued to go soft on Putin, who — I hasten to add — is a former Soviet spy master.

Donald Trump is unloading his barrages on the wrong targets. The media aren’t the “enemy of the people.” Nor are Democrats. The FBI comprises professional law enforcement and legal professionals dedicated to protecting this nation from its enemies.

One of those enemies happens to function inside the Kremlin. That enemy is seeking to continue the work it started upon the 2016 Republican presidential candidate’s invitation to look for Hillary Clinton’s “missing e-mails.” That candidate, of course, was Donald John Trump.

The candidate-turned-president must cease his attacks on the media and focus them instead on the real No. 1 enemy of this nation and its citizens.

Moral squalor smothers Trump administration

I am taking away a few impressions from the release of Robert Mueller’s findings into the Russia matter and whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “colluded” with Russians.

I intend to share some of them here, briefly.

  • Trump did not collude with the Russians. His campaign didn’t conspire to collude with those who hacked into our electoral system. I am willing to take away some relief in Mueller’s findings on that matter.
  •  The president, though, is a moral leper. He is a lying, conniving, self-absorbed narcissist who was saved from his own politically imbecilic instincts by individuals who knew better than the “boss” on how to respond to the special counsel’s ongoing investigation.
  •  All of the individuals who saved Trump from committing a foolhardy act by firing Mueller are gone. They no longer work within the administration.
  •  Trump cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything.
  •  Mueller’s report tells of how Trump responded to questions with his written answers by invoking the “I can’t recall,” “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know” response roughly 37 times. This is the same individual, Trump, who boasted during the campaign about having a steel-trap memory. He called it “the best memory,” yes?
  • There appears to be demonstrable evidence that Trump sought to obstruct justice by firing FBI director James Comey, by seeking the ouster of Mueller, by firing AG Jeff Sessions. Mueller chronicles instances of Trump doing all he could to call off the hounds on the hunt for the truth behind the Russian hacking.

Is any of this impeachable? Maybe it is. I do believe that an impeachment proceeding is a fool’s errand. House Democrats likely have the votes to impeach. The Senate is still run by Republicans. The Senate would put Trump on trial if the House impeaches him. There appears to be little stomach to convict the president; Republicans are too scared of Trump to cross that line.

I agree with GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. I, too, am “sickened” by the moral depravity exhibited by the president.

The Mueller report only deepens my desire to see Trump removed from office. He is unfit at every level to hold the nation’s most exalted public office.

My preference at this moment is for the November 2020 election to perform that task.

Yes, the blame for Russia hacking crosses party lines

It pains to me state this, but the release of Robert Mueller’s report on The Russia Thing and other matters has revealed a serious stain on the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

I am not for a single instant going to give Donald Trump a pass on his campaign’s involvement in the Russian hacking of our electoral system in 2016. You won’t see me offer up a “What about this?” excuse for what happened during the course of that campaign.

However, I am going to concede that all of the hacking, the interference, the blatant attack on our electoral system occurred during the final full year of President Obama’s administration.

The president and the Justice Department under his watch should have taken stern, immediate and decisive measures to stop it. They didn’t.

A CNN analysis notes that Obama was too wrapped up in the Iran nuclear arms deal he and Secretary of State John Kerry were brokering to risk angering Russian President Vladimir Putin. They wanted the Russians on our side. Yet they knew of the hacking, according to Mueller, while it was occurring in real time.

Yes, so did the Trump team. They, too, should have acted. The Trump campaign should have blown the whistle loudly on what was occurring in the moment. Donald Trump’s invitation to the Russians to look for Hillary Clinton’s “missing e-mails” tempted the Russians to the point of launching their attack on our system that very day.

But as they say, we only have one president on the job at a time. The president we had in 2016 failed to do what he should have — and could have — done to stop this attack on our sacred electoral system.

President Obama said he told Putin to “knock it off” at the time. It wasn’t nearly enough.