Tag Archives: Russian meddling

Actually, Obama did act on Russian meddling

Donald Trump went on a Twitter tirade over the weekend and in the process he managed to tweet out yet another lie.

I know. It’s just so hard to believe. Right? Actually, well … no. It isn’t. It’s Trump’s modus operandi.

While he was blasting former President Barack H. Obama, Democrats, the FBI, Hillary Clinton, H.R. McMaster and the media in the wake of the indictments over the Russian election meddling, the president accused his predecessor of doing nothing about the Russians.

Actually, sir, President Obama did do something.

I feel the need to remind Trump of that. Except that he knows it already, which makes his misstatement yet another outright lie.

Obama looked Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in the eye and told him to quit interfering in our electoral process. Then the president signed an executive order that booted several Russian diplomats out of the country, forced the closure of Russian diplomatic property and imposed strict economic sanctions on the Russians.

He sought to punish the Russians for doing what the intelligence community has confirmed what they did.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted several Russians and three Russian companies for their role in the 2016 election interference. Both houses of Congress approved — with overwhelming majorities — toughened sanctions on Russia, only to have the president decline to agree to them.

In that light, Donald Trump has the gall to say that Barack Obama has done “nothing” to punish the Russians?

Liar.

Waiting for outrage from White House

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Donald J. Trump to say what needs to be said about Russian meddling in our nation’s electoral process.

The president should declare his outrage and must insist that we take measures to ensure that this kind of political aggression from a foreign adversary never happens again.

He won’t say it. Of that I am increasingly certain.

What’s more, his refusal to declare such outrage makes me question whether this man actually places protecting the nation he governs above all else.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for their role in interfering in our 2016 presidential election. The 37-page indictment does not alleged “collusion” from the Trump campaign; nor does it say that the Russian interference determined the outcome.

That was the focus of the president’s initial response. He said the indictments vindicate his campaign. He declared there was “no collusion!” yet again.

Meanwhile, national security adviser H.R. McMaster says the indictment provides “incontrovertible proof” that the Russians launched a campaign against our electoral system. They committed an act of aggression. They sought to sow discord and discontent among Americans. They succeeded!

Where in the world is the outrage from the man at the top? When is he ever going to declare virtual war against foreign powers who think they can mess with our political system?

The president took an oath to defend the United States. He swore to place our national interests above all else. Indeed, he campaigned on a pledge to “put America first.”

The president’s continuing refusal to state his intention to end this kind of meddling is a fundamental violation of that oath.

Disgraceful.

Now this: Mueller indicts Russians for meddling

Let’s see. If we’re keeping score, the tab is piling up against Donald Trump’s claim that the Russians didn’t interfere in our 2016 presidential election.

The nation’s top spooks, the folks who run our intelligence agencies, say in unison that the Russians meddled in our election.

Now, today, we get word that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for — drum roll! — interfering in our election.

But … the president of the United States is willing to take the word of a former KGB boss, Vladimir Putin, that he didn’t do what our intelligence experts say he did. Donald Trump is the lone denier in all of this.

To be clear, the indictments don’t suggest any collusion from the Trump campaign. The president might take some solace in that knowledge, although there’s still more to be determined by Mueller’s legal team as it pores through all the material that has piled up.

Nor do the indictments say that the Russian hackers’ activity actually affected the outcome. They did not determine the outcome. I get that, too.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians did accomplish their mission in their meddling, which was to cause “discord” and to throw doubt over our nation’s electoral process.

When will the president ever acknowledge what is now widely known? My hunch: He’ll take his denial with him to the grave.

Weird.

Spooks say it again: Russia meddled in 2016!

The nation’s leading intelligence agency heads all sat in a row in front of a congressional committee.

Then they all said the same thing: Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election and they intend to do the same thing during our 2018 midterm election.

There you have it.

Except that the men’s boss, the president of the United States, isn’t buying it. Donald John Trump continues to insist that it’s not yet proven that Russia meddled. The president, moreover, says that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, told him he had no hand in the meddling. Trump apparently has bought into Putin’s denial … as if the Russian strongman is going to say a single thing different.

The Hill reports: “There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during his opening remarks at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

He also warned lawmakers that Moscow is “likely to pursue even more aggressive cyberattacks” against future elections in an effort to undermine U.S. democracy.

I don’t need to remind anyone — but I guess I will anyhow — that Coats is no squishy Democratic liberal. He’s a former Republican senator from Indiana, whom Trump appointed to lead the national intelligence team.

I think I’ll accept Coats’ version of what he and the others — including the director of the FBI and the CIA — are saying about Russia’s acknowledged effort to subvert the U.S. electoral process.

If only the president himself would admit the obvious.

If only …

Putin can declare: Mission Accomplished

I don’t know to say “Mission Accomplished” in Russian.

However, I am certain that somewhere in the Kremlin or wherever he hangs out these days, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is able to declare victory in his effort to disrupt the U.S. electoral system.

I don’t know if the Russian goons who hacked into our election system actually affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential contest. To be honest, I doubt that the interference had a tangible, demonstrable impact. I doubt that the Russian meddling by itself elected Donald John Trump as our president.

Putin, though, shouldn’t concern himself with that precisely. He should be happy as the dickens at what he has been able to accomplish.

He has sown doubt in our electoral process. He has shrouded our system under a cloud of doubt. He has thrown the U.S. Congress into a tizzy as it does battle within itself over how to deal with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his investigation into this very disturbing matter.

Putin has wrenched the White House, indeed the president himself, into spasms of apoplexy. Trump has lashed out at the FBI, the Department of Justice, the attorney general, his deputy AG, the nation’s intelligence community, at congressional Democrats and even a few congressional Republicans.

The president says he’ll talk to Mueller “under oath.” His lawyers are advising him not to do it.

If you’re Vladimir Putin, you must be laughing with your fellow spies and former spies at what you have accomplished.

Putin has done what should have been impossible. He has infected our electoral system with with doubt over what we have considered to be a sacred trust.

And the more the president continues to deny Russian involvement in this meddling the more he does — in the words of U.S. Sen. John McCain — “Putin’s work for him.”

Just remember that Vladimir Putin once was the chief spook within the Soviet Union’s own massive spy network. He hasn’t forgotten the tricks of his trade.

Not all in GOP are buying into Nunes memo

I am happy to acknowledge that the Republican Party’s ranks of power players aren’t singing off the same hymnal page as it regards Russian interference in our electoral process.

Donald John Trump and many of his GOP “friends” in Congress have released a memo that accuses the FBI of bias in its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., isn’t one of them.

He has released a blistering statement telling Trump that the memo is doing “Putin’s job for him.”

McCain’s statement, issued prior to the release of the memo from the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican members, said, in part: “In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy,” McCain said. “Russia employed the same tactics it has used to influence elections around the world, from France and Germany to Ukraine, Montenegro and beyond.”

According to the Huffington Post: McCain said Russia’s interference has, at best, sown political discord and succeeded in “dividing us from each other.” Attacking the intelligence community is not how to fix the discord, he said.

I am acutely aware of Sen. McCain’s longstanding antipathy toward Donald J. Trump. The then-GOP presidential candidate disparaged McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War. The men haven’t made peace yet.

That doesn’t diminish the importance of what McCain is saying about the release of the memo, written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The intelligence community opposed its release, as did the FBI leadership.

McCain wrote further: “The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s,” McCain added. “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

This is not how you protect the interests of the people you were elected to govern, Mr. President.

When will POTUS ever recognize the Russia threat?

I guess there’s not a single thing I do can do except keep yapping out loud about it. So, therefore, I will.

When is the president of the United States going to acknowledge publicly what many of his fellow Americans already know: Russia threatens our sacred political process.

Instead, Donald John Trump Sr. continues to disparage our law enforcement agencies, our counterintelligence organizations, our criminal justice system, our key protectors.

Trump ratcheted up that criticism of our law enforcement agencies today by allowing the release of a Republican-authored memo that accuses the FBI of bias in its investigation into Russian hacking of our electoral process.

The president attacked the leadership of the FBI and the Justice Department. Oh, sure, he managed to say a good word about the “rank and file” within the FBI. The men and women on the front line, though, work for the very leadership that Trump has continued to criticize, undermine and — some might argue — defame.

I won’t accuse the president of defaming the FBI and DOJ leadership, but I keep returning to a fundamental question: When is the president going to admit in the open that Russia is a bad actor?

Russian President/strongman Vladimir Putin is no “friend” of the United States. I don’t know this as fact, but I cannot believe for an instant that the former KGB boss thinks as highly of Trump as the president says he does. A large part of me believes Putin is laughing his backside off at the confusion, chaos and controversy he has delivered to the United States as a result of the Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election.

Putin committed an act of aggression against this country and for the life of me, I cannot accept why the president of the United States refuses to call that aggression what it is.

I have my share of theories as to why he remains quiet on Russia. I maintain my belief that Americans deserve to see the president’s full tax returns and financial disclosure. They very well could tell us plenty about the president’s reluctance to call the Russians out.

Donald Trump’s silence is deafening in the extreme.

From sh**hole to bullsh** letter

Donald John “Potty Mouth” Trump Sr. has sent a letter to African leaders proclaiming his immense respect for the nations of that continent.

He “deeply respects” the people of Africa. Do you believe him? Uhh, neither do I.

The president infamously wondered out loud about why the nation accepts immigrants from “sh**hole countries” in Africa, as well as from Haiti and El Salvador. It produced a serious firestorm. There have been denials from Trump himself, the White House, some Trump friends who were in the meeting. Oh, but others in the room have affirmed he said it.

Trump then writes a letter declaring his yuuuge respect for African nations.

Sure thing … like he respects our intelligence community even though he disputes its findings that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election outcome; or how he respects women despite admitting that he grabs them by their genitals; or how he respects the sacred vows of marriage even though he admits to wanting to have sex with a married woman — or how he has bragged about how he has cheated on at least one of his former wives.

Mr. President, save your chickensh** letters that seek to do nothing more than cover your own backside.

The man seemingly does not possess the capacity for sincerity, except when it involves self-aggrandizement.

Oh, and about the special counsel …

Robert Mueller is back in the news.

While our attention was yanked away while we watched Congress and the president writhe and wriggle over immigration and funding the government, the special counsel’s office was busy interviewing players in Donald John Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

We now have learned that Mueller interviewed fired FBI director James Comey sometime this past year. Mueller’s legal team has talked to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

What’s on the special counsel’s mind? He is looking for answers to the Big Question: Did the Trump campaign collude with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome?

Sessions was a key campaign adviser while serving in the U.S. Senate. Comey — as you no doubt recall — led the FBI while it looked into the e-mail use matter involving Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; then he turned his sights on the “Russia thing,” before he was fired in May 2017 by the president.

Mueller is trying to ascertain, reportedly, whether Comey’s firing, along with the dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was meant to obstruct justice, impede the Russia meddling probe.

Gosh, who could be next on Mueller’s call list? Oh, I know! How about the president himself?

Trump says the investigation into collusion is a big fat nothing. He calls it a witch hunt. He blames it all on Democrats, the “fake media” and other critics of him and his administration.

Here’s a thought: If the president’s phone rings and it’s Robert Mueller on the other end of the call, the president ought to agree on the spot to meet with him — if what he says about the veracity of the probe is true.

If not, well … then we have a problem. Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

Here come the indictments

Robert Mueller’s planned announcement of indictments relating to “The Russia Thing” has taken on the look of a film premiere.

I’m on pins and needles.

A federal grand jury reportedly is set to issue indictments based on special counsel Mueller’s intense investigation into whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign “colluded” with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Who’s going to be indicted? Former national security adviser Michael Flynn? Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort? Might it be presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner?

Could it be all of the above?

Trump team gets ready

The Trump legal team reportedly is preparing some sort of reaction to the news that’s coming Monday from the grand jury.

Of course, the president continues to insist there’s nothing to hide. He says he didn’t collude with the Russians; yet he continues to bristle publicly that Mueller is continuing this investigation at all.

My take is as it’s been for months: If the president has nothing to hide, then he should just let Mueller and his team of legal eagles do their job. If he has done nothing wrong, then the Mueller team can say so publicly.

That’s not how this president rolls, though.

Which makes me wonder: Is this guy hiding something?

Hey, let’s all stay tuned. Pass the popcorn.