Tag Archives: Russian interference

Trump aides should ‘reevaluate’ their role? Do you think?

Trey Gowdy, the lame-duck South Carolina congressman who recently worked over FBI agent Peter Strzok over his conduct in the Russia interference investigation, has taken the gloves off — more or less — with members of the Trump administration.

Gowdy made an appearance today on “Fox News Sunday” and said that members of the administration should consider quitting if Donald Trump continues to ignore their best advice on how to handle Russia and other matters.

According to The Hill: “It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016,” Gowdy told host Bret Baier. “So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”

“Need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve … “?

I’d be willing to bet real American money that those advisers already are reevaluating their future with the Trump administration. They are likely doing it privately, swearing loved ones to secrecy.

The true shocker would occur if some of them actually turned in their West Wing security badges and walked out the door.

Indeed, the president has demonstrated an astonishing capacity to ignore the advice he gets from the “best people” who are equipped with the “best minds” with whom he has surrounded himself.

Moreover, he has shown a mind-boggling willingness to blindside those advisers with tweets and other pronouncements that one might expect to have been done only with close consultation with those experts.

Exhibit A: The amazing reaction from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to news that Trump had invited Vladimir Putin to the White House for a second summit later this year. “OK,” Coats said with a tone of exasperation. “That’s going to be special.”

How can someone as accomplished and serious as Coats — a two-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — actually avoid “reevaluating” whether he should remain as part of the Trump national security team?

Chaos and confusion continue to reign supreme in the Trump administration.

Where are the ‘best words’?

Donald Trump’s amazingly clumsy “clarification” of what he said in Helsinki brings to mind a stellar campaign promise he made while running for president in 2016.

The told us he would surround himself with the “best people” and he would speak to us using the “best words.”

Zero for two?

Yes, he has some good folks in key places. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a good one; so is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; I’ll put United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in that crowd, too. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has possibilities.

Many of the rest of them? Not the “best.” Not by a long shot.

How about those “best words” Trump pledged? Let’s turn our attention to that Helsinki clown show that unfolded before the entire world at the beginning of the week.

There was Donald Trump standing alongside Vladimir Putin, the former KGB chief spook who serves as Russia’s president.

A reporter asked the president whether he doubted U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia attacked our democratic process. Trump said he spoke with Dan Coats, that he accepts the intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in our election, but that Putin had offered a “strong and powerful denial.”

Then he said, “I don’t know why they (the Russians) would” interfere.

To borrow a phrase: Oops!

More than 24 hours later, Trump convened a Cabinet meeting and declared he meant to say “wouldn’t” instead of “would.” He then made the term “double negative” famous around the world.

I’ll inject here that Donald J. Trump made sure reporters heard him praise Putin’s “powerful” denial of election interference during that joint appearance in Helsinki.

That is how the president “misspoke”? I do not think so.

Nor do I believe he uses the “best words” to convey whatever message he wants heard.

‘Your favorite President did nothing wrong’?

I cannot let this Twitter message pass without a brief rejoinder.

Donald John Trump wrote this: Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!

It’s the final sentence that is worth a comment.

“Your favorite President did nothing wrong,” Trump writes.

By golly, he’s right. Barack Obama didn’t shame himself in front of the world while kowtowing to Vladimir Putin. Nor did he refuse to acknowledge the Russian attack on our electoral system. Or denigrate the U.S. intelligence agencies’ capabilities. Or try to take it all back with a clumsy and inarticulate reference to “double negatives.”

My “favorite president” is doing just fine, thank you very much.

As for the current president, well, I’m anxiously awaiting the findings of the special counsel to settle matters.

It wasn’t mere ‘meddling,’ it was an attack

I have just made a command decision as the publisher of High Plains Blogger.

No longer will I refer to the Russian attack on our electoral system, on our democratic process merely as an act of “meddling.”

It was a full-frontal assault on our electoral process. It was an attack on our way of life.

I got the idea from a letter to the editor I saw this morning on Twitter. I think the letter was from the New York Times. The writer compared “meddling” to the butting in by nosy relatives on the business of family members.

I thought, “Wow! I get that.” Not the nosy relatives thing, but the notion that “meddling” is far too mild a term to describe what the Russians did during our 2016 presidential election.

Thus, I made the decision to henceforth refer to that act using terminology that more aptly describes its impact.

Am I going to assert that the Russian attack actually produced a Donald Trump victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton? I won’t go there. At least not just yet. I will await the results from Robert Mueller’s exhaustive probe into potential “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian goons ordered by Vladimir Putin to launch their attack on our system.

In the future, though, do not look for the word “meddling” from this blog to describe what I consider to be damn near an act of war on our democratic process by a hostile nation.

Spicer: Mueller probe is no ‘witch hunt’

Well, there you have it.

One of Donald John Trump’s staunchest defenders has gone on the record: Robert Mueller’s probe into possible “collusion” with Russians is “no witch hunt.”

So says former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who became famous — or infamous, depending on your point of view — during his initial press briefing in January 2017 by arguing with the media over their reporting of the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd.

That was then. Spicer said on “Today” that the special counsel investigation is serious. However, Spicer did hedge a bit.

“As of now, I see no evidence that it is,” he said on “Today.” Do you get it? As of now? He sees no evidence? He also said he sees “no evidence” of collusion with the Russians. “I think it’s very important to be clear that Russia meddled in our election and there’s no evidence of collusion,” Spicer said.

Whoa! We don’t know what Mueller has hidden from view. There well might be something to reveal eventually.

Yet, Spicer’s rather tepid defense of Mueller does strike me as a bit refreshing coming as it does from someone who made a name for himself during his time as press secretary as someone who’d run through a brick wall for the president of the United States.

I’ll take Spicer at his word that he doesn’t believe we are witnessing a witch hunt. If only he would stop pulling his punches.

Check out the interview here.

Tillerson bucks Trump again … this time on Russia

What?

You mean to say that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thinks Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Why, I thought the president of the United States has called it “fake news,” that the Russians wouldn’t do such a thing, that their president, Vladimir Putin, told him they didn’t do it — and that Donald Trump believes him!

Isn’t that what we’ve been told by the Liar in Chief?

Tillerson reportedly made his feelings known privately. But I guess they aren’t quite so private these days now that the world knows what the secretary of state believes about the Russian hanky-panky.

The secretary is on thin ice as it is with the president, who’s reportedly working on an exit strategy to remove Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson opposed Trump’s decision to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, and the withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.

He called the president a “moron” and then pointedly declined to take it back when he was asked about it.

Now we have this item in which Tillerson bucks the Big Man yet again on the Russian interference matter. Actually, Tillerson is far from alone in believing the Russians sought to meddle in the election. If anything, it’s Trump who’s singing solo in his refusal to sign on to what intelligence analysts all have said happened.

However, Trump is the president. Tillerson works at his “pleasure.” My guess is that the president is not feeling too pleased with this latest sign of diplomatic mutiny.