Tag Archives: Russian election interference

Biden to Putin: Shape up or else

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, that went about as planned.

President Biden said he would confront Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on issues that obstruct warm-and-fuzzy relations between the nations. He did what he vowed to do.

Putin’s response? It was to suggest — among other things — that the Jan. 6 insurrection was just an example of Americans seeking to have their grievances heard. I’ll get back to that one.

Biden vowed to deal directly with Russian interference in two presidential elections. He delivered on that one. Biden said he would challenge Putin on his invasion of Ukraine. Ditto on that one, too. President Biden promised also to challenge Putin’s harsh treatment of political dissidents. Bingo, Mr. President!

It was on that final point that produced Putin’s strange suggestion that the Jan. 6 riot was just a demonstration of Americans’ desire to have their grievances addressed. Uh, Mr. Dictator, that was a frontal assault on our democratic process … not that you would understand the value of democracy.

I continue to believe that it was smart for Biden and Putin to stage separate news conferences. Putin went first. Then it was Biden’s turn. The sequence enabled President Biden to correct the record when and where he deemed it necessary.

Both men have called their initial head-of-state summit as productive and constructive. That’s a good thing, to be sure. What must not happen ever again, though, is for the U.S. president to roll over when Russia’s leader denies doing what our intelligence experts concluded he did — which was interfere in our election. We saw that disgraceful display in 2018 when Putin met with Biden’s predecessor.

So, now they have parted company. My strong hope now is that Putin understands that President Biden — with decades of foreign-policy experience under his belt — will not be played the way he was able to manipulate the former Sycophant in Chief.

Final report is in: Russia attacked us!

I guess you can file this in the “Better Late Than Never” category of official government findings.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, the panel run by a Republican Party majority, has concluded what many of us knew already: Russia attacked our electoral system in 2016 seeking to aid in the election of Donald J. Trump.

It is a bipartisan finding. It lends credence to the assertions delivered by special counsel Robert Mueller III, who told us in 2019 that Russia attacked us and that they will do so again this year. The report confirms all of that.

It also puts to rest any phony denial — supported by Trump — that Russia didn’t do what has been alleged all along.

Recall that Trump stood next to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and openly dismissed reports from our intelligence experts that Russia had interfered in our 2016 presidential election. He sided with his pal, Vlad, standing before the entire world.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report now has put to rest any notion that Trump might try to foist on us that the Russia probe was a “hoax,” a “witch hunt,” or a fishing expedition.

It was none of any of those things. Indeed, the Senate findings also suggest that there was, indeed, “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons who hacked into our electoral system. Does that sound like “exoneration”? Not to me!

CNN reports: The report is all the more remarkable because it was led by then-Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. The report provides an exhaustive, bipartisan confirmation of the contacts between Russians and Trump associates in 2016 — and it was the only congressional committee that managed to avoid the partisan infighting that plagued the other congressional investigations into Russian election meddling.

What do we do with this report? It will remind me — just a chump voter and blogger who happens to be an American patriot — of the corrupt nature of Donald Trump’s political team … then and now.

Putin isn’t on the ballot, however…

Vladimir Putin just won’t go away.

The Russian president launched a campaign in 2016 — at the invitation of Donald Trump — to interfere in our presidential election. His aim was to disrupt our political discourse, to sow seeds of suspicion. He succeeded infamously.

Donald Trump benefitted from the Russian interference. The U.S. president hasn’t yet been willing to acknowledge the Russian dictator’s role in that political heist.

Now he’s at it again. He is injecting himself into the 2020 election, but in ways none of us saw coming.

We have these reports of Russians placing bounties on the lives of Americans fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trump is dismissing the media reporting. He calls it a hoax. He is angry at the reporting, but is silent about the subject of that reporting.

There he is, Vladimir Putin is injecting himself into the American political process. He isn’t on the ballot, but his presence on our political landscape seems to all but guarantee that part of our voters’ calculation on for whom we cast our ballots will include Vladimir Putin.

To be clear, my mind is made up. Still, Putin’s presence in our political discourse is maddening. He has wormed and wiggled his way into our processes. Putin can declare “mission accomplished” from his 2016 electoral interference. It’s not enough, though, for Putin merely to win that first round.

He is going to interfere yet again this year, along perhaps with China or Ukraine or any other nation that has an axe to grind with the U.S. political system.

To be clear, it is confusing in the extreme for me to grasp how the Russian bounty story is going to benefit Donald Trump. To that end, Putin’s continuing presence in our political process sends a seriously mixed message.

Still, the Russian brute is there. He is part of our political discussion.

If only he would just disappear. Forever.

You mean the Russians are interfering again? Wow! Who’da thunk it?

It can’t be. The Russians cannot possibly attack our electoral system yet again after what they did in 2016. Can they?

I guess they can! The New York Times is reporting that the Russians are at it once more. Indeed, now we hear that Donald John Trump, the nation’s current president, was so angry over the news that he fired the acting director of national intelligence and installed a loyalist into the job as the latest acting  DNI.

Actually, it is being reported that Trump got mad because the former acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, consented to a congressional briefing. That’s reportedly why he replaced him with U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grennell, a guy with zero experience at any level of intelligence, let alone at the director of national intelligence level.

Let’s remember that Trump dismissed the 2016 election attack, most infamously in 2018 at the Helsinki press event in which he stood next to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and backed Putin’s denial over the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia had interfered in the previous presidential election.

Now we hear that the Russians have done it again!

This is scary in the extreme. Trump already is known to have solicited another foreign government, Ukraine, for a political favor. It got him impeached by the House of Representatives.

Here come the Russians once more, working to re-elect the president. They want to ensure that Trump gets a second term as POTUS, a move that is sure to sow as many seeds of anger and mistrust in our electoral system that the 2016 attack managed to accomplish.

Think of it. That’s precisely what the Russians want to do.

Didn’t the president take an oath to protect this nation against its enemies? Didn’t he vow to keep us and our institutions safe from this kind of attack?

What the … whatever?

Time for Schiff and others to put up ‘direct evidence’

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said today he has seen “direct evidence” that the Donald Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who sought to intervene in our 2016 presidential election.

Hmm. Direct evidence. Well, I believe there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence piling up all around the president and his campaign operatives.

The California Democratic chairman, though, keeps teasing us with sound bites alluding to direct evidence that the Trump team worked hand in glove with Russian goons who sought to bring dirt on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016.

I am still awaiting special counsel Robert Mueller to deliver his report. It needs to be made public. Mueller’s lengthy and thorough investigation needs lay out clear evidence. I no longer want to hear from Schiff who makes statements about direct evidence but then cannot divulge the details of how he knows about such matters.

All this rhetorical teasing does is give Donald Trump ammo to fire back at his political foes.

Russians have earned grudging admiration for their success

I feel the need to offer a word of congratulations to our nation’s No. 1 geopolitical adversary, Russia . . . the nation formerly known as the Evil Empire.

Perhaps we ought to resurrect that Cold War epithet made popular by Ronald Wilson Reagan.

The Russians once were governed by those nasty communists who created something called the Soviet Union. The USSR dissolved in 1991, collapsing under its own weight of military excess and corruption.

But the Russian Federation that emerged is no less nefarious. Think of what it did to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome. The Russians, led by the former Soviet spymaster Vladimir Putin, wanted Donald Trump to win. They sought to sow disinformation about Hillary Rodham Clinton and other anti-Trump candidates.

They accomplished their mission and now, two years into the presidency of Donald Trump, the United States is still roiling over his election. There has been serious discord among millions of Americans. Some of us no longer trust the electoral system. We are suspicious of the government, of our allies, even ourselves.

The Russians have done what they set out to do.

They didn’t even have to be ultra-careful when they hacked into our electoral system. They could be reckless and open about it. So what if we detected their interference? The very fact that we did has established that our system is no longer bullet-proof. The Russians, thus, cast it all in doubt.

Mission accomplished!

So the discord will continue to tear at our system for as long as Donald Trump is president. We will continue to question the man’s legitimacy as president. We’ll continue to wonder what the Russians did, how they managed to crack our supposedly fool-proof electoral system.

I no longer am concerned that Trump refuses to acknowledge the Russians’ role in upending our electoral process. It’s a given. I expect it from this guy.

My concern now focuses on what we’re able to do to shore up our cyber defenses. Can we prevent the Russians or other bad actors from penetrating our elections? We have many uber-smart geeks working within the government who are tasked with that challenge. Then again, the Russians have ’em, too.

My saluting the Russians for their success in no way is an endorsement of what they did. They have enabled an unqualified unfit individual to take the reins of our government.

My salute merely is to acknowledge that they did what many of us thought was impossible.