Tag Archives: Russian meddling

Trump asks Putin to White House? Wow!

Donald J. Trump’s ignorance is on full display for all the world to see.

Think about this for a brief moment.

The president of the United States disgraces himself at that press conference in Helsinki. He disparages the intelligence agencies’ view that Russia meddled in our election. He takes Vladimir Putin’s side. The media go ballistic. So do politicians on both sides of the divide.

Then he tries to take some of it back. He does so clumsily at a Cabinet meeting, reading from some prepared text, only to ad lib that “others may have” interfered in our election. Politicians keep going nuts. Same for the media coverage.

With the president being pilloried and pounded, what does he do? He orders national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the White House for another summit in the fall. White House press flack Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the world about that gem via Twitter.

Oh, and then there’s the surprise sprung on his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, who found out about the invitation while being interviewed on TV. NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell told Coats about the invitation on live TV. Coats did not know about it. The nation’s top intelligence officer was left in the lurch.

I am left to wonder: Is the president operating in a hermetically sealed booth? Does he not hear anything … at all?

What in the name of electoral collusion is going to occur if Putin accepts this invitation, comes to the White House and meets — presumably in private yet again — with his presidential puppet?

Putin surely ordered the ’16 election attack

Donald J. Trump has been fielding some direct questions to which he is offering some strangely oblique answers.

CBS News anchor Jeff Glor asked the president whether he thinks Vladimir Putin is “responsible” for the 2016 attack on the U.S. electoral system by Russian goons.

Trump’s answer has me scratching my noggin. Sure he’s responsible, Trump said, because “he’s the leader of his country” just as Trump is the leader of this country.

Huh? That’s it?

Actually, the consensus among the nation’s intelligence community has been pretty forthright: Vladimir Putin ordered the attack; he called the shots.

The CIA, FBI, National Security Agency … all of ’em … say the same thing. Putin was up to his armpits in this undeclared war against the U.S. electoral process.

So, for the president to pass it off solely as a function of Putin’s standing as the “leader of his country” once again demonstrates what many of us already have feared. Putin has cast some sort of spell over the Trump.

Or, he’s got some goods on the president. Allegedly. Maybe. Possibly.

I’m getting antsy. I hope the special counsel, Robert Mueller, finishes his investigation sooner rather than later.

POTUS won’t take the bait: Yes, Putin lied

CBS News anchor Jeff Glor sat right in front of Donald J. Trump and asked him directly this week: Did Vladimir Putin lie when he denied the Russians meddled in our 2016 election?

The president had just declared in his conversation with Glor that he believed — finally! — the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia attacked our electoral process.

So, Glor asked the obvious question about the Russian president’s veracity. Trump wouldn’t go there. He wouldn’t call Putin a liar.

Hmm. OK, I’ll do it for him. Yes, Mr. President, Vladimir Putin lied when he denied the Russians’ culpability. Indeed, he has crafted his entire career as a KGB agent and as a politician by lying. He has turned lying into an art form.

Putin is a pro at prevarication.

Indeed, Vladimir Putin is far better at lying than — dare I say it — Donald John Trump.

Did the walls have ears in that Trump-Putin meeting room?

This inquiring mind wants to know and I suspect I am not alone.

What in the world did the presidents of the United States and Russia talk about in that Helsinki meeting room when they were alone, except for their respective translators?

We heard what Donald Trump said he Vladimir Putin discussed. Do we believe the president? Should we believe him? Umm. No and no.

So, how do we — the public, the citizens Trump represents as the president — learn what was discussed?

Hey, here’s an idea: Summon the U.S. translator to Capitol Hill and have that individual talk to members of Congress; have the translator take an oath and then question the translator vigorously.

Now, having said that, I am willing to let the translator conduct a “classified” briefing. There’s no particular need to open the hearing up to the public if the translator is going to discuss security-sensitive issues.

Donald Trump disserved the public dramatically at the jaw-dropping press conference with Vladimir Putin. Officials in both major political parties have called it the “most disgraceful performance” by a president in their memory. I concur with that view … and my memory goes back a good while. Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama never sucked up the way Trump did to the leader of a foreign hostile power in front of the world — and in the presence of that hostile leader.

Trump and Putin spent a couple of hours out of the world’s earshot. There were no national security aides present. No secretary of state, no foreign minister, no defense ministers. Just the two of them — Vlad and The Donald.

What did Trump promise Putin? What does Putin have on Trump? Why in the world would Trump denigrate our intelligence agencies’ view that Russia meddled in our 2016 election while accepting Putin’s “strong and powerful” denial?

Inquiring minds want to know.

They need to know.

Trump a traitor: not yet … maybe

I am getting mildly uncomfortable with all the chatter about the alleged acts of treason that Donald J. Trump may have committed.

I hear it from my social media network of “friends” and friends; I use the term in those two forms, because some of my social media “friends” aren’t the real thing, just acquaintances.

I’m not yet ready to climb aboard the treason bandwagon.

Yes, I am horrified at what I am seeing from this president. His groveling at Vladimir Putin’s feet. His disparaging of our intelligence networks’ view that Russia attacked our electoral system. His constant and incessant lying about almost any topic you can imagine.

Having said all that, I am going to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller to complete the task that’s been handed to him. The Justice Department picked the former FBI director to look closely at allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians who interfered in our 2016 election.

I have high faith in Mueller’s integrity and in his ability to conduct a meticulous investigation. I reject categorically any notion that his probe is “the most corrupt in history,” as some on Trump’s legal team have asserted.

However, until he finishes his work and issues a final report, I want to remain a bit circumspect over what the president might have done, or whether he, indeed, has betrayed the nation that elected him to the highest office in our land.

Others are free to express themselves. I’ll continue to offer my own view on what I think of Trump as president. I make no apology for my own disdain for him as a person and my sincere belief in his unfitness for the job he occupies.

I just am not yet going to hang the worst possible label on him until we hear from the man charged with getting all the information out to the public that needs to know the truth about how this guy got elected to office.

WH press flack redefines rhetorical elusiveness

I am going to offer a tip of the hat — sort of — to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The White House press secretary is either (a) exceedingly quick on her feet or (b) gets a thorough briefing from other West Wing staffers on how to answer direct questions.

Sanders got a question today about Donald J. Trump’s answer when he was asked by a reporter whether he still thought Russia posed a threat to our electoral system, as it did in attacking it during the 2016 presidential election.

The president said “no.” He said Russia did not pose a threat.

Sanders got the question at the White House press briefing: Did the president really mean to say Russia was not trying to interfere in our midterm election?

She said the “no” response to the question was the president’s way of saying “no more questions” from the media.

Isn’t that clever? Slick? Cagey?

It’s also untrue.

Sanders trotted out that amazing response to chief of staff John Kelly’s visible body language while Trump — at the NATO meeting in Brussels — was scolding the Germans over their supposedly being under the “total control” of Russia. A reporter asked her about Kelly’s reaction. She said he was angry because he wanted a full breakfast, but instead got only “pastry and cheese.”

That, dear reader, is hilarious.

Except that I ain’t laughing. Neither should you. It’s deceptive. She’s lying for her boss.

How ‘stable’ can POTUS remain?

I know that Donald J. Trump calls himself a “stable genius.”

Why, he even inserted the word “very” in his most recent self-glorification. His use of the v-word reminded me of something one of my mass communications professors asked me when he read one of my stories: “What does the word ‘very’ do for you?”

George Carver didn’t like the word. He thought it was unnecessary. He was right.

The president’s “stability” must be getting tested these days. He goes to Europe and has a generally hideous meeting with NATO leaders; then he ventured to London and trashed his host, Prime Minister Teresa May, only to deny he said what was published in the Sun newspaper.

It got even worse. Trump went to Helsinki and groveled at Vladimir Putin’s feet, said he didn’t know why Russia “would” interfere in our election; then he kinda/sorta took it back — the next day! — by saying he meant to say “wouldn’t.” Whatever.

The scorn is piling up. Our allies abroad cannot trust the president. He’s being played for a fool by Russia. The critics at home now include many from within his own Republican Party. Former CIA boss John Brennan and others are saying Trump’s Helsinki presser was “treasonous.”

How much can this guy take?

Oh, wait. The president has no shame. A shameless man has a deep well of whatever it is that allows him to delude himself.

Mr. POTUS … the spooks say the Russians are still at it

There he goes … again!

Donald John Trump has shoved a proverbial dagger into the back of the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats.

The DNI has declared that “red lights should be blinking” as the Russians prepare to interfere in our midterm election later this year. What does the president say this morning in advance of a Cabinet meeting?

He said Russia “is not targeting” the United States. The Russians aren’t attacking our national political process, he said.

So, the president’s chief spook — a one-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — says one thing. The president says another.

Who do you believe? I’ll stick with DNI Coats.

Good grief, dude!

The president said in Helsinki that he doubted the intelligence networks’ findings that Russia had attacked our system in 2016. Then he sought — more than 24 hours later! — to take it back. He said dropped a word — the contracted version of “not” — in explaining that he meant to say the Russians meddled in our election.

He has made a mess of this explanation, his backing away from his earlier remarks and his belief in the pros who seek to keep Americans safe from our foreign adversaries.

Now this. The DNI says the Russians are coming after us again. Trump says they aren’t.

How much more of this Oval Office idiocy can Dan Coats take?

Donald J. Trump: classic, quintessential RINO

The chatter now about Donald J. Trump’s disgraceful performance this week in Helsinki deals with how Republicans in Congress are finally — finally! — beginning to condemn the president’s conduct.

It all seems to circle back to a question I keep asking myself and occasionally pose it publicly on this blog: How does the president command the loyalty of Republicans when he is the quintessential Republican In Name Only.

These same GOP loyalists are so damn quick to hurl epithets at other Republicans who deign to speak out against Trump. Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and, yes, Mitt Romney are now considered RINOs in the world according to the Trumpsters.

Two of the men I mention — Romney and McCain — were the party’s presidential nominees in 2012 and 2008, respectively. They aren’t RINOs.

As for Trump, I’ll refer to a point that one of my sons made this week. The president, he said, once was a pro-choice Democrat and a member of the Reform Party before he became a Republican.

My own view is that Trump lacks any ideological grounding. He doesn’t speak with any knowledge or eloquence about his party’s ideology. He has no moral basis.

So, he blathers in Helsinki about how he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin and disbelieves U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment about Russian election interference. Democrats, quite naturally, are quick to condemn the president.

Republicans? They pull their punches. They speak in milquetoast terms: Trump’s remarks were, um, unfortunate, they were ill-advised.

They continue to rally around a guy who isn’t even a real Republican.

Go … figure.

Would, wouldn’t … what does an ‘n’t’ mean?

Allow me for a brief moment to parse a few words from the president of the United States.

On Monday, he said this in response to a question about whether Russia interfered in our 2016 election: “(Putin) just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Are we clear on that?

Then today, in the White House, the president said this: “I thought that I made myself very clear, but having just reviewed the transcript … I realized that there is a need for some clarification. The sentence should have been …’ I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia’.”

All right, back to the Monday reference. Immediately after he allegedly “misspoke,” the president then praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin for being “very strong” in his denial that Russians attacked our electoral system.

So, if he didn’t speak correctly on Monday, why did the president offer such praise for Putin’s strength of conviction that there was no meddling? He didn’t take back any of that other stuff.