Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

Tell the whole story about ‘collusion,’ Mr. President

That silly Donald Trump just cannot tell the truth about anything.

For instance, he declared this week in the presence of the media and the Japanese prime minister that the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has absolved the president of any “collusion” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Wrong! Double wrong! Triple wrong!

The committee did nothing of the sort. The panel’s Republican majority issued a partisan statement ending the committee’s investigation. Intelligence Committee Democrats had no part in the statement. The panel’s GOP members decided to protect the president’s backside by issuing a statement that has no basis in fact.

The collusion issue hasn’t yet been determined finally by anyone. Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to look into it. The Senate Intelligence Committee also is continuing its work on this complicated matter.

Yet the president continues to insist repeatedly that there was “no collusion” between his campaign or himself personally and the Russian goons who hacked into our electoral system.

They launched an attack on our political process. They presented a clear and present danger to the integrity of our system of government. The president still won’t say it out loud. He still keeps giving Russian President Vladimir Putin political cover on that issue.

So, Mr. President, knock off the lying. I know I’m making an impossible request of the Liar in Chief, but I have to make it anyway.

Why not just send him detailed plans? Hmm?

What happened to Donald J. Trump’s alleged penchant for unpredictability?

The president is now telling Russia to “get ready” for air strikes against Syrian targets in response to dictator Bashar al Assad’s latest gassing of civilians, including children.

How does this work? Do the Russians now harden their targets to lessen their losses in the event of an attack? Then there’s the warning that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin plans to “target” U.S. military targets in response to a retaliatory strike.

Trump keeps telling us he likes being unpredictable. He wants to keep our foes and friends alike guessing what we’ll do next. Isn’t that what he has said? Over and over?

This man is playing a dangerous game of chicken.

He is out of control!

As for Assad, he needs to be arrested and ordered to stand trial on charges that he has committed crimes against humanity.

Yes, Mr. POTUS, you need to act

You aren’t likely to believe this, but I’ll say it anyway.

I truly want Donald Trump to do the right thing regarding a possible U.S. response to Syria’s latest use of chemical weapons on innocent Syrian civilians — including women and children.

I also want the president to keep shining the light of accountability on the Russian government, which has sponsored Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s brutality. Trump said the Russians could pay a heavy price if the United States decides to use military force against the Syrians.

Does that mean Vladimir Putin — who has escaped much of the fiery rhetoric that comes from Trump — will pay a price, too?

I do hope so.

I do not want U.S. troops to remain in Syria. I do not want us to get swept up in the civil war that has killed more than 400,000 Syrians.

If the president is going to strike a tough-guy posture with regard to crimes against humanity, he needs also to single out Russia, which is wallowing in the filth of those crimes in Syria.

I am among millions of Americans who cannot understand why Trump has gone so soft on Putin and the government he leads. I also am among those Americans who is waiting for some sign that Trump’s infatuation with Putin has ended.

Finally!

Is this ‘leading from behind’?

I cannot resist asking the question: Is the president of the United States “leading from behind” with his decision to join in the expulsion of Russian “diplomats”?

About two dozen nations have joined a sort of class-action expulsion of Russian officials as a way to punish the Russian government over its poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Great Britain.

The United States joined that effort. Indeed, Donald Trump has ordered the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle, citing its proximity to the giant Boeing aircraft assembly plant and the big U.S. Navy base in nearby Bremerton, Wash.

Don’t misunderstand this point: I applaud the president for joining this allied effort to punish the Russians. They are bad actors on the world stage.

However, we heard a drumbeat of criticism from Republicans that then-President Barack Obama was “leading from behind” on issues relating to, oh, Syria, Libya and the continuing war against international terror. Critics accused the president of failing to take the lead on diplomatic and military efforts.

So, does that criticism apply here? The president of the world’s most powerful nation has acquired some valuable political cover by joining other nations in this punishment of Russia, which is governed by that former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin.

Doesn’t the world’s pre-eminent military and economic power have an obligation to take the lead, rather than stand among the crowd?

Obama congratulated Putin, too? Hold on!

So, critics of the media on the right have become fond in recent days of defending Donald J. Trump’s congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin. They’re using an interesting — if nonsensical — argument.

Trump called Putin the other day against the advice of his national security team. He congratulated the Russian strongman on his re-election in what many have called a “sham election.” His soon-to-be-former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that Trump shouldn’t congratulate Putin because of corollary issues that have clouded U.S.-Russia relations.

The president’s phone call has gotten plenty of criticism. I’ve joined the chorus of critics on this blog.

The push back was immediate. Trump defenders point out that Barack H. Obama congratulated Putin on his re-election in 2012.

Whoa! Hold on here! Let’s examine briefly the situation and how it compares with the here and now.

Vladimir Putin was a bad guy in 2012. I get that. He is worse now. Why? Oh, let’s see. He has meddled in our 2016 presidential election and is likely going to meddle in our midterm election this year, let alone in other countries’ elections; he used nerve gas on a former Soviet spy and his daughter.

President Obama did not have issues such as those on the table when he chatted with Putin in 2012. Donald Trump had a lot of them to toss at Putin when he called him just the other day.

There’s the difference.

Leak complicates an already complicated problem

Donald J. Trump’s congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin was bad enough. He shouldn’t have slapped the Russian president on the back for winning a “sham election,” as Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain has described it.

He should have taken Putin down for meddling in our 2016 election and for reports that Russian officials poisoned a former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom. The president didn’t say a word about either of those things … reportedly!

Now, though, it gets seriously complicated.

Someone inside the West Wing, inside the president’s inner circle, likely leaked to the Washington Post that Trump congratulated Putin against the advice of his national security team.

Let’s roll this one around for a moment.

The president is rightfully furious that someone would leak this information to the media. I understand his anger. Please note that no one is denying the guts of what is being reported. The National Security Council implored Trump to avoid making a call in the first place, but if he were to do so to avoid offering any congratulations.

I don’t know which is worse: that Trump would ignore the advice of his national security team or that someone with access to this kind of highly sensitive information would be so emboldened to leak it to the public.

This poses a couple of key questions. 1. What kind of “extreme vetting” did the president and White House chief of staff John Kelly use to ensure these secrets would be protected? 2. And what in the world is Donald Trump thinking — if he is thinking at all — if he can defy the advice of some smart national security aides who understand how it looks for the president to continue to soft-pedal Russia’s attack on our electoral system?

Trump once boasted he knows more about international terrorists “than the generals, believe me.” Does this guy also know more about how to handle highly complicated bilateral relationships than the “best people” with whom he has surrounded himself — and who implored him to use extreme caution in talking to Vladimir Putin?

This guy, the president of the United States, is out of control.

McCain speaks truth to … fraud

U.S. Sen. John McCain remains in strong voice and for that I am grateful.

Donald John Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on his re-election as Russia’s president. The message didn’t go down well with the stricken Republican senator from Arizona, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain issued a statement that read in part, according to The Hill: In a statement, McCain called Trump’s phone call to Putin an insult to “every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future.”

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain said.

Did the president discuss with Putin the questions about Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election? Did he mention a word to him about his support of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad? Did he bring up the murder of journalists or the poisoning of a former Soviet spy and his daughter?

Oh, no! He wouldn’t go there. Instead, he “congratulated” Putin, despite some serious reporting about election fraud.

McCain said more about Trump’s call to Putin: “And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”

Trump is so very tough on American law enforcement officials, on critics here at home and even on allies abroad. Yet he soft-pedals his comments on Putin?

Shameful.

Press flack keeps insulting the public’s intelligence

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded a direct question today from a member of the White House press corps: Is Russia a friend or foe of the United States?

Her answer defies all logic and it insults the intelligence of Americans across the board.

Sanders said “it is up to the Russians to decide” if they are going to be friendly or unfriendly toward the United States. Such a goofy response causes many of us out here to say: What the … is she talking about?

I need to remind Sanders what her boss, Donald John Trump, used to say about “identifying our enemies.” While running for president, Trump excoriated President Barack Obama for refusing to identify “Muslim terrorists” by name. Obama’s response was that we are not at war with Islam, but we are at war with those who are mass murderers of Muslims.

Why, then, does the current president identify Russia as a supreme foe of this country? Why does his press flack sing from the White House song book that refuses to identify our adversary — by name!

The Russians have all but declared war on our electoral system. They have sown discord, dismay and discontent among Americans, many of whom have lost total and unvarnished faith in our nation’s election system.

The Russians and their president, Vladimir Putin, are not our friends. Putin is a trained spook. He once ran the Soviet Union’s spy agency. He is, in the words of former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly, “a killer.” Putin has sanctioned the murder of journalists and anyone who dissents from his public policy.

This man is a friend? It is up to the Russians to “decide” if they are our friend?

Listen up, young lady: You insult our intelligence constantly by spouting such idiocy.

Welcome to center stage, Mike Pompeo

Can there be a more complicated set of circumstances awaiting the next secretary of state?

Donald Trump tweets the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He tweets it, I’m tellin’ ya. Tillerson said he doesn’t know why he was canned. The president then said he’s going to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the next top diplomat.

Oh … and this is occurring while the United States is beginning to prepare for a potentially historic summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Tillerson today thanks everyone under the sun for the opportunity to serve as secretary of state. Well, almost everyone. He doesn’t thank Trump. Um, I’m betting Trump and Tillerson aren’t going to talk much to each other going forward.

Pffeww!!

I’m worn out — and I’m out here in the Flyover Country peanut gallery.

Pompeo also happens to one of those intelligence experts who believes the Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election. He has said so on the record. He joins a distinguished list of officials: the director of national intelligence, the head of the National Security Agency, the president’s national security adviser (who well could be the next one out the door). They’ve all said the same thing: The Russians did it and they all contradict the idiocy spouted by the president, that if Vladimir Putin says he didn’t do it, then that’s good enough.

I sincerely hope someone on on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which must vote to confirm Pompeo, asks him directly — once more — whether he still believes the Russians meddled in our election.

And with equal sincerity, I hope the Senate wastes little time in getting Pompeo confirmed. He’s got a full plate waiting for him when he takes over.

I mean — crap! — he’s got to prepare the president for this summit with Kim Jong Un. I’ll also have to hope Donald Trump will listen to what the new guy has to say.

Russia remains off Trump’s danger-zone radar

I want to join the chorus of Donald J. Trump’s critics who cannot fathom why the president of the United States cannot bring himself to say anything critical about Vladimir Putin, the strongman who runs Russia.

Putin this past week announced the unveiling of weapons systems he said would neutralize the U.S. missile defense systems. His aim seems to be able to strike the United States of America whenever he felt like it.

The response from Trump? Nothing. Not a frigging sound! He isn’t challenging Putin’s assertion of military superiority the way he has done, say, with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

What the hell is the matter with this guy, the president of the United States?

I endorse the view put forward late this past week from a retired U.S. Army general, Barry McCaffrey, who contends that Russia in reality is nothing more than a developing Third World country. It economy is smaller than California’s economy, McCaffrey said; Russia’s standing army is inferior; it has a population that is less than half of that of the United States; its submarine and surface-missile weapons systems essentially are a joke, he said.

In no way, according to McCaffrey — a Vietnam War combat veteran who had a major command during the Persian Gulf War — would Russia dare launch a first strike against the United States.

Where is the “Little Rocket Man” epithet that the president could use against Putin? Why doesn’t he tweet some idiotic rejoinder about how his “button is bigger” than the one at Putin’s fingertips?

Good grief, man! Has the Russian strongman cast some sort of spell over the president of the United States?

Or … is there validity to reports of something fishy involving Trump’s business dealings in Russia?

Oh, I forgot. Trump said he has “no business activity” in Russia. No deals have been struck.

And we are supposed to believe him? Sure thing.