Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

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.

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.

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.

FBI doesn’t deserve bashing from POTUS

Maybe my memory is failing me. Or maybe it isn’t.

I’m having trouble remembering the last president of the United States to disparage the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency, the FBI.

Therein is where Donald J. Trump is doing things so very differently from his predecessors. He’s calling the FBI a lot of names. He alleges that morale is in the crapper; he says its leadership is in shambles; he is saying the FBI needs to be rebuilt.

Oh, and he’s calling the FBI’s role in the examination of Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election a “sham” and a “Democratic hoax.”

I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of an FBI agent. How would I like working for a government being run by a head of state and government who is so distrustful of my agency?

Trump keeps savaging FBI

If the president is going to contend that morale is so lousy, perhaps he is playing a major role in flushing it down a sewer hole.

He’s also been disparaging the attorney general, whose agency — the Justice Department — controls the FBI. Trump dislikes that AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia-election meddling probe, as he should have done. The president’s reaction has been to send signals that Sessions’s time as AG might be dwindling.

Of course, there’s also the issue of Trump questioning the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia did meddle in the election and that Vladimir Putin issued the order to do it. Putin told the president he didn’t meddle — and that denial from the former head of the Soviet spy agency is good enough for Donald Trump.

Strange. Very strange.

Take it easy with the ‘P-word,’ Mr. President

Donald John Trump isn’t known for possessing any sense of circumspection. He kind of blurts words out without thinking of how they might sound.

Such as when he endorsed Roy Moore in his race to become the next U.S. senator from Alabama. He said he doesn’t want a “puppet of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer” to serve in the Senate, referring to the Democrat in the race, Doug Jones.

Imagine the president calling anyone a “puppet.” How can someone who many of us believe is a puppet of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin hang that pejorative tag on another politician?

The Russian government, which Putin runs with an iron fist, interfered in our 2016 election. Intelligence analysts believe Putin wanted Trump to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Trump has refused to acknowledge publicly what the nation’s top intelligence agencies have said already about Putin’s involvement in meddling in our electoral process.

Other analysts contend that Putin is playing Trump.

Let me think for a moment.

Isn’t that how someone manipulates a political puppet?

‘Political hacks’ strike back at Trump

Donald John Trump showed his stripes yet again over the weekend.

So help me, the president sickens me constantly.

He met with Vladimir Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam. They shook hands. Trump and Putin had a brief meeting. Putin said he didn’t interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump said that he accepted Putin’s denial on its face.

Then the idiot in chief called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks” because they have asserted that the Russians did interfere with our electoral process.

Can you imagine how Republicans would react if, say, Barack Obama had called two distinguished American intelligence officers “political hacks”?

Brennan and Clapper, of course, weren’t taking the president’s disparagement lightly. They have scolded him seriously, suggesting that Putin is “playing” Trump like a fiddle.

Trump did attempt to walk back his comments about Putin’s phony denial, but he managed to botch that as well, saying he backs the U.S. intelligence community, while continuing to suggest that Putin is “sincere” in his denial of election interference.

Sigh.

Oh, so very sad.

Are we clear now? POTUS backs intel agencies

That’s as clear as mud, isn’t it?

Donald John Trump says in one breath that Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn’t meddle in our nation’s 2016 presidential election.

In virtually the next breath — actually it was the next day — the president says he backs the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that, yep, the Russians meddled, they interfered, they sought to influence the election outcome.

The question now is this: Which is it, Mr. President? Who do you believe?

This kind of stumble-bum rhetoric is driving many of us utterly bananas.

POTUS back tracks

Trump had been “on script” for most of his 12-day trip to Asia. Then he shook hands with the Russian president; the men met privately for a brief period in Da Nang, Vietnam. Putin told Trump he has been “offended” by assertions that Russia meddled in our election. Trump seemed to side with the bad guy while dismissing the assessments of the good guys, the men and women who work for our intelligence agencies.

For the life of me, I don’t understand — let alone accept — Trump’s belief that Putin can be trusted as far as he can throw him. The man is a former KGB hot shot. He is trained to lie.

Forgive me for quoting former Fox TV commentator Bill O’Reilly, but O’Reilly did assert correctly during an interview with Trump that “Putin is a killer”; Trump responded by saying, essentially, “So are we.”

Good … grief. Dude! Get an ever-lovin’ grip!

Oh, but now he backs U.S. intelligence analysts, who’ve been saying all along that Russian hackers meddled in our election — and they did so on orders from Vladimir Putin. One of them who stands by our analysis of Russian meddling happens to be CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom Trump appointed.

My head is spinning.

Put, ‘er, blame America first?

Donald J. Trump pledged to “put America first” while he ran for the presidency.

It sold his pitch along the campaign trail. Guess what? He is governing under a policy of “blaming America first.”

The president is in Asia. He went to the People’s Republic of China and praised the Chinese government for “taking advantage” of the United States in piling up a huge trade surplus with this country. He also pledged to end that trend and vowed to restore some semblance of trade balance between the two economic powers.

Still, he blamed U.S. trade policy.

Then he ventured to Vietnam to attend a summit of foreign leaders. He shook hands with Vladimir Putin, who told the president — allegedly! — that the Russian government did not interfere with the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Trump accepted Putin’s assertion at face value.

When the Russian strongman says something, he “means it,” according to Trump. Oh, but what about the intelligence agencies who say the opposite, that the Russians did interfere and hacked into our electoral system? Trump calls former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks.”

What the hell … 

He’s blaming America first, not “putting America first.”

I’m old enough to remember the 1984 GOP presidential nominating convention. The keynote speech at that event came from Jeane Kirkpatrick, the nation’s United Nations ambassador. She brought the house down by chastising who she called the “San Francisco Democrats” who were all too willing to “blame America first.”

I’m trying to imagine how the late ambassador would react to a president of her own party doing the very thing for which she once blistered the Democratic Party.

Should we trust Putin’s word? Nope!

Well, that settles it.

Russian strongman/president/dictator/former spy chief Vladimir Putin told Donald J. Trump that he didn’t “interfere” with the 2016 presidential election. The president took him at his word. He believes him. That’s it. Done deal. Let’s move on to the next thing, shall we?

Good … grief, Mr. President!

Who in the world should the president believe? A lying former KGB agent who is trained to deceive, divert and dissemble? Or should the president take the word of trained U.S. intelligence professionals who say quite the opposite, that the Russians did hack into our electoral process with the expressed aim of influencing its outcome?

Trump and Putin have shaken hands in Vietnam and have visited unofficially for a brief period when they weren’t posing for pictures with other foreign leaders. The president said he trusts Putin, that he’s telling him the truth, that when Putin says his government didn’t interfere that it’s good enough for him.

Once again, the president has disrespected and disparaged the intelligence officials who answer to him and whose mission is to protect U.S. interests against those who seek to do us harm.

I don’t know about you, but I am inclined to take the word of our trained spooks, the men and women who take their oath seriously enough to stake their careers on what they say in public.

They have said the Russians interfered with our electoral process. Putin can deny it all he wants. Those of who’ve been paying attention know about the Russian’s history and understand completely that he remains quite capable of lying to the face of the president of the United States.

If only the president, himself quite a prevaricator, would accept what the rest of the country knows.

Putin, Russians can declare: Mission Accomplished

If Vladimir Putin were so inclined, I might expect to see the Russian president unfurl a banner in Red Square that reads, in Russian of course, “Mission Accomplished.”

The Russians meddled in our 2016 election. They sought to influence its outcome. They attacked our electoral process. They declared a form of war against our democratic process.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded as much. I believe them. The winner of the 2016 presidential election, Donald John Trump, has yet to draw that conclusion.

Oh, no. Instead, he has disparaged our intelligence apparatus. He has sought to deflect criticism of the Russians through equivocation, saying that “it could be anybody” who meddled in our election.

Now, do I believe the Russians actually swung the election in Trump’s favor? Do I believe their meddling, by itself, resulted in a Trump victory? No. I believe the president defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton legally. I also believe Clinton made too many fatal mistakes down the stretch to salvage a campaign that she should have socked away long before Election Day.

But you see, the Russians have succeeded famously. They have thrown the U.S. political discussion into near hysteria. Accordingly, they have accomplished one of their primary missions, which is to cast doubt on our electoral process.

We’ve got congressional committees examining the interference. The FBI is examining it, too. The president fired former FBI Director James Comey over the “Russia thing,” and the Justice Department has appointed a first-rate special counsel, Robert Mueller, to conduct an independent probe of that Russia matter.

There might be indictments forthcoming. The president himself might find himself in a world of political hurt. Trump has been so consumed by this investigation that he cannot take the time he needs to fill critical spots within the nation’s executive government branch.

I cannot predict how all these investigations will conclude. I feel fairly confident in suggesting that no matter the outcome, that Vladimir Putin has succeeded wildly in undermining the electoral process of the world’s remaining superpower.