Tag Archives: Russian meddling

The national mood is getting more sour by the day

Am I feeling the burn out there?

The national mood, which wasn’t great prior to the 2016 presidential election, appears to be worsening.

Yep. I’m sure of it, actually.

Donald Trump Sr. pledged to unify the country after being elected president. How has he done? Uh, terribly. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think so.

Yes, congressional Democrats are stunned that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost to this guy. She should have won in a landslide. She didn’t. Democrats haven’t gotten over it … yet!

Now, that takes us to the guy who won. How has he done in the “gracious winner” department? Let’s see. He keeps harping on his record-breaking victory, which it wasn’t. Trump keeps reminding us how Democrats supposedly favor things like high crime, high taxes, open borders … those kinds of things. He won’t meet with Democrats to discuss legislative priorities.

The president has continued to stick his thumb in the eye of his foes. He yaps, yammers and yelps about how it’s everyone else’s fault that his legislative agenda gets stalled.

He disparages the FBI, the Department of Justice and the special counsel (Robert Mueller) who has been given the task of finding out whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our electoral process.

And now …

The president has implemented an executive policy of “zero tolerance” on our southern border. The policy allows for the separating of children from their parents. Educators, clergy, human services experts, lawmakers (many from his own Republican Party) are aghast at the policy. They call it institutionalized “child abuse.” Four former first ladies have said the same thing independently about the policy: that it is inhumane.

There is a virtual uprising seemingly about to occur.

Trump’s response? He calls the children and their parents a threat to our nation. Hey, what about those Russian goons who meddled in our election, Mr. President? When are you going to drop the hammer on them? Ever?

Meanwhile, the nation is more divided than ever. Americans are growing angrier by the day.

Hey, it occurs to me yet again that the Russians’ attempt to sow discord and disunion … is working!

IG report steers clear of ‘collusion’ probe

Donald John Trump’s fantasy land journey has taken him down yet another curious, bizarre path.

The U.S. Department of Justice inspector general issued a report this week that blasts the daylights out of former FBI director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Rodham Clinton e-mail controversy. The IG calls Comey “insubordinate” in flouting DOJ protocol in his probe of Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

The president’s response? It was weird in the extreme. He walked onto the White House driveway after the report became known and said the 500-page report absolves him of any “collusion” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Except for this little detail: The IG report didn’t say a single word about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion, obstruction of justice and whatever else might be connected in any way to that bizarre political episode.

What’s more, the Liar in Chief tossed out the “liar” epithet against Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017 over “the Russia thing.” The inspector general’s report doesn’t challenge Comey’s credibility, only his judgment and his failure to follow DOJ policy.

Will the president’s diatribe do any damage to his standing among the Republican Party “base” that continues to hang on his every lie, prevarication and misstatement of fact?

Umm. Nope.

It’s the Russians, Mr. POTUS, who pose the threat

Donald J. Trump has called previous intelligence chiefs all sorts of bad names: liar, loser … you name it.

Dan Coats, though, is the current director of national intelligence. He once was a U.S. senator from Indiana. He’s a Republican. He’s a solid public servant. He said in a tweet that the “Russians are actively seeking to divide our Alliance, and we must not allow that to happen.”

He is a Trump appointee.

What has been the president’s response to his DNI’s assessment? Nothing. He’s not paying attention. He is instead denigrating our allies in Canada, Mexico, Germany, the UK, the European Union, Japan because — according to Trump — their trade policies pose a “national security threat” to the United States of America.

C’mon, Mr. President. DNI Coats has it right. You, sir, have it wrong!

The Russians want to break up the EU. They still fear the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, set up after World War II as a hedge against expansion from the Soviet Union and its bloc of Eastern European nations.

Coats has joined other intelligence officials in declaring that without a shred of doubt the Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election. They all have declared, in one figure of speech or another, that the interference constituted a “direct attack” on our government and our electoral process.

Trump’s response? He keeps giving the Russians a pass all the while talking harshly about our trading partners and our military allies.

G-7 meeting ends with anger, outrage

That went well, don’t you think?

Don’t answer that. You know how it went. Donald Trump showed up at the G-7 meeting of economic powerhouse nations in Quebec and proceeded to p** off our nation’s most ardent allies and trading partners.

Then he jetted off to Singapore in advance of his summit with North Korean goofball/dictator Kim Jong Un.

What do you suppose the president is thinking by launching into his tirades against our allies? No need to answer that one, either. I don’t believe the “thinks” anything. He fires from the hip. He relies on “instinct” and “attitude.”

My favorite part of his departure was when he said if our trading partners don’t do what he wants — which is give in to our demands for high tariffs — then he’s going to punish them by refusing to do business with them.

Yep. The president of the nation that possesses the world’s strongest economy is threatening extreme economic punishment on our friends, the nations with which we are allied.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now is threatening direct retaliation for the tariffs Trump has imposed on steel and aluminum produced in Canada.

I feel all warm and fuzzy. Don’t you?

Oh, and then he tells them that Russia — the nation that swallowed up Crimea and went to war with Ukraine, all before meddling in our 2016 election — deserves a place at the table. He wants the G-7 to become the G-8 again.

This is how you “make America great again,” how you engender “respect” among the rest of the industrialized world?

I do not believe it’s working, Mr. President.

Trump showing ’em R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

Donald Trump’s feel-good campaign has hit a few walls along the way.

He’s gone to Quebec to take part in the G-7 summit of the world’s leading economic powers and has managed to tick off all of our allies. These are the real friends with whom this country formerly enjoyed a long-standing relationship through thick and thin, good times and bad, war and peace.

Yep, he’s now imposing steep trade tariffs, which might precipitate a trade war with, say, Canada and the European Union. China is there, too. Our relationship with the People’s Republic of China has been up and down since the communists took control in 1949, but at the moment it’s supposed to be in good shape — except that we might launch a trade war with them, too.

And, yes, we once fought a war with Japan and Germany. But since that terrible time, they have stood shoulder to shoulder with us.

He has said he might tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, even though Mexico — the third nation involved with NAFTA — isn’t represented at the G-7.

In the midst of all this, Trump is trying to make nice with Russia, as if he hasn’t made his preferences known already about Vladimir Putin’s government already around the world.

He wants Russia to come back into the circle of nations that used to be known as the G-8. That was until the organization booted the Russians out because they invaded Crimea and backed pro-Moscow forces rebelling against the government in Ukraine.

And while Trump excoriates Canada for posing a “national security threat” to the United States because of trade practices, he ignores the real threat that Russia has demonstrated by interfering in our 2016 election. Moreover, the Russians likely are going to do it again in 2018.

This is how you earn “respect” around the world, Mr. President?

No. It isn’t. It’s how you make a mockery of the role you assumed when you took the oath of office as president of the United States.

They aren’t respecting us in these world capitals. So help me, they are mocking us.

Bring the Russians back to the table?

Let me try to keep this straight.

Donald Trump wants Russia returned to the economic group comprising the world’s leading economic powers. The Russians were kicked out of what was known as the G-8 because it annexed Crimea and launched military action against Ukraine; they have done not a damn thing to remove themselves from that conflict.

Meanwhile, the president chastises our actual allies and trading partners because they object to the punishing tariffs he has imposed on steel and aluminum they export to the United States.

What am I failing to grasp?

Trump’s pique against Canada is particularly galling. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau objects to Trump’s description of Canada as a “national security risk,” pointing out how Canadians died alongside Americans on the beaches in Normandy during World War II and how the nations have been the closest of allies for many decades.

Trump says Trudeau is being “indignant.”

Good grief!

Now he wants the Russians back in.

According to The Hill: “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said. “And in the G-7, which used be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.” 

Oh, and then we have the Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election. Right there is a legitimate, tangible, identifiable, demonstrable risk to our national security.

So help me, the man elected as president of the United States himself is a frightening risk to our national security and sovereignty.

Why the talk about POTUS’s self-pardon?

This discussion about whether Donald Trump can pardon himself has my head spinning.

I mean, hasn’t the president declared that he did nothing wrong? That there is “no collusion” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election? That his business dealings are on the up and up? That there’s no obstruction of justice? No crimes committed?

Oh, wait!

The president’s kicked into overdrive his effort to discredit, disparage and dismiss the special counsel’s investigation into all of these questions. Robert Mueller is no hatchet man. He’s a longstanding Republican, a former FBI director, a meticulous lawyer. He’s a pro. He’s a former Marine who saw combat during the Vietnam War. His character is — if you’ll excuse the reference here — unimpeachable.

Back to my point.

This chatter about whether the president can pardon himself only heightens the possibility that Trump is indeed stupid enough to even raise the issue. He has done that and has opened up an entirely hideous line of discussion.

A pardon presumes wrongdoing. If the president is clean, why are we even having this discussion?

Or is he … actually clean?

Bannon offers spot-on comment on Sessions’s recusal

As a general rule I am not inclined to offer praise for a former Donald Trump policy adviser who has been portrayed as the Grim Reaper on “Saturday Night Live.”

However, Stephen Bannon has offered a spot-on analysis of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from anything relating to the Russia meddling matter in the 2016 presidential election.

Bannon said Sessions made precisely the correct call in backing out. He added that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also would have made the same decision had they been put in that position.

Why? They all had direct involvement in the president’s campaign and, thus, could not possibly be trusted to conduct a thorough, fair and unbiased investigation into Russian meddling in the campaign. The question of the moment is whether the president obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey and whether his campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives who had dug up dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yet, Trump has been trashing Sessions for making that decision. He has said repeatedly he regrets selecting him as attorney general. Trump has disparaged the leadership at the Justice Department and the FBI.

The president doesn’t understand the complexities of conflict of interest. Sessions got it when he backed out of the Russia matter. Accordingly, Bannon — someone who hasn’t generally served the nation well — happens to be totally correct in his assessment that Trump is wrong to condemn the AG for acting properly.

I do have to chuckle when Bannon keeps insisting that he still admires and respects the president, saying he cherishes his relationship with him. He offers that caveat while reminding him publicly that he doesn’t understand why he is so damn wrong when he ridicules the attorney general.

Another Trump allegation proving false?

I am not a betting man, but if I were I might be willing to wager some real American money that Donald John Trump’s allegation of spying within his 2016 presidential campaign is going to go the way of earlier allegations that flew out of his guy’s mouth.

You know … that Barack Obama wiretapped his office; that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton; that thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder; that Obama was born in Africa and not in Hawaii and, thus, was ineligible to run for president in 2008.

It’s all crap. Now the latest.

He accuses the FBI of planting a “spy” in his campaign. He says the deed was done for “political purposes.” He has produced as much actual evidence of this latest assertion as he did for all the others.

None. Zilch.

Even some congressional Republicans are backing the FBI in the face of these allegations from Trump.

The president is reaching deep into his bag of tricks to discredit the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed in 2017 to look into the “Russia thing,” meaning whether Trump might have worked with Russians who meddled in our election.

The FBI has become one of Trump’s preferred bogeymen. He fired the former FBI director, James Comey, because of the Russia investigation. He is calling Comey a liar; he is disparaging the reputation of former CIA boss John Brennan, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and, yes, also Robert Mueller.

Where, though, is the evidence to back up the allegation of “spying” within his campaign? No one has seen it.

If I were inclined to place a bet on this one, my hunch is that there is no evidence to be found. Why? Because it didn’t happen.

Which brings me to the question: How in the name of political sanity does this guy, the president, get away with lying at this level?

Trump is violating his oath of office

Donald J. Trump took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution and to protect our system of government from those who would seek to pervert it.

The Russians sought to pervert that government and our electoral process. The FBI got wind of it in real time during the 2016 presidential election and sought to use a confidential informant to get to the bottom of it.

Donald Trump’s response? He now accuses the FBI of “spying” on his campaign. He has lashed out at the FBI for doing its job, for seeking to do the very thing Trump’s oath called on him to do — which is to protect us against foreign interference.

The president has tossed that oath aside. He doesn’t give a damn about it! He doesn’t care that the Russians interfered in 2016 and are likely doing so in 2018; they well might try again in 2020.

Trump’s assertions and allegations against the FBI are virtually unprecedented in presidential history. Imagine for just a moment any president making up conspiracies. How should we react to the notion that our head of state is so dismissive of the FBI that he would put a confidential informant in jeopardy by referring to him as a “spy” empowered by the FBI to do political damage to his campaign?

The president is violating his oath. He is putting this country in the path of potentially grave peril.

Trump is proving a point I have sought to make since he announced his presidential campaign: He is categorically unfit for the office to which he was elected.