Tag Archives: Kremlin

Trump parrots Kremlin line on Afghanistan

It’s impossible to believe that Donald Trump has said anything that, by itself, would doom his presidency. He has said so much, so often and with such idiocy that he should have been shown the door long ago.

Get a load, though, of what blurted from his pie hole during a 90-minute press availability in the Cabinet Room. He said the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 because “terrorists” were entering the USSR and that the Soviets were justified in responding as they did in invading the neighboring nation.

It’s been said already by others, but I’ll reiterate it here: The only other place where that fiction has been told has been in the Kremlin, where the Russian government is headquartered. No one else on Earth has ever said out loud and in public that terrorist incursions were the reason that the USSR invaded Afghanistan and fought the Afghans for a decade.

Which begs the question: What in the name of revisionist history is the president doing here? Some have suggested he is speaking the Russian line because he actually believes it, that the Russians have penetrated his skull with propaganda that no one else actually believes. Others suggest that Donald Trump, whose astonishing ignorance takes our breath away, simply doesn’t know what he’s saying, but that he is in love with the sound of his own voice.

The Wall Street Journal, with its right-leaning editorial page, has skewered the president with an editorial today. It said, “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American president.” Just think: The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a friend and ally of Trump who also owns the president’s favorite cable TV network, Fox News.

I do not know what prompted Trump’s utterly ridiculous assertion. The best case is that it is the product of blind ignorance. The worst case is that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has something on the president, that Trump is now officially frightened to the point of reciting Russian propaganda regarding one of the signature episodes of the Cold War.

Whatever the case, for the president of the United States to so egregiously mischaracterize one of the world’s darkest moments is frightening on its face.

Donald Trump is unfit to occupy his high and exalted office.

Grist for propagandists …

Take a good look at this picture. I don’t know who these fellows are. I only know that they’re wearing clothing that can be used as grist for propagandists.

The shirt says “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat.”

Funny, huh?

Do you think Vladimir Putin, sitting in his Kremlin office in Moscow, is going to use this shirt as a way of declaring victory in his effort to sow discord, distrust and despair among Americans?

Yes. He undoubtedly is enjoying the sight of guys like these two fellows and the sound of the anger being expressed throughout the United States of America.

If Hillary needed to be ‘locked up’ over e-mails …

Let’s assume for a moment the very worst about Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to Donald J. Trump.

The Washington Post is reporting that Kushner suggested to Russian government officials that the Trump transition team set up a secret line of communication between the Russian embassy to the United States and the Kremlin.

OK, to be completely fair — the story might not be true. My sense, though, is that it’s there is something significant happening to the Trump administration.

So, if the Post is correct and Kushner was able to secure a back-channel line between the Trump team and the Kremlin — using Russian communications equipment — how does that compare with what the Trump campaign alleged about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of her personal e-mail server?

Do you remember the chants of “Lock her up!” coming from those Trump campaign rallies? Do you recall that disgraced former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn helped lead those chants himself?

What Kushner is reported to have sought makes Hillary’s use of personal e-mail accounts look so, so quaint.

Think of this. The Post is reporting that Kushner wanted to use Russian intelligence equipment to transmit communications between the Trump team and the highest level of government in Moscow. Did this young man have a clue that Russians monitor carefully all communications between their embassies and the Kremlin?

I guess we now can understand a good bit more clearly why the FBI had declared Kushner to be a “person of interest” in its investigation of what the president called “the Russia thing.”

The Russia thing is growing a lot of legs.

What? A back-channel phone line with Kremlin?

I know Donald Trump’s son-in-law is entitled to an innocence presumption.

Jared Kushner has now been shoved to the front row of a growing investigation into what the Trump presidential campaign may have done in connection with the Russian government.

The latest live grenade to explode deals with a report that Kushner and the Russians sought to set up a secret line through which the Trump team could communicate with the Kremlin, the seat of the Russian government in the heart of Moscow.

If it’s true — and I’ll presume that special counsel Robert Mueller will make that determination in due course — then it’s fair to ask: What would Kushner seek to keep secret from normal communications channels?

Some analysts are suggesting that this latest report might be a “game change” in the growing controversy. (I am going to refrain from calling it a “scandal” until we know a whole lot more.)

The Mueller investigation is going to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump says “no.” His buddy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, says “nyet.”

If this latest revelation is a game-changer, then I’m believing that Donald J. Trump’s tenure as president is about to enter some seriously tenuous territory.

Here comes another ‘gate’ scandal

The “gate” suffix no doubt is going to be attached to the brewing controversy boiling up out of the Trump administration.

Russiagate? Flynngate? Hackinggate?

I grew annoyed long ago at this media concoction to put the “gate” suffix at the end of every scandal that comes down the pike.

The Watergate scandal that brought down a president in August 1974 stands alone. It began with a “third-rate burglary” at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate office complex. It morphed into something, well, much bigger than the metro desk crime story that the Washington Post considered it initially.

However, the controversy involving Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his alleged contacts with Russian government officials smells like a story that could rival Watergate in its gravity.

Some veteran journalists who covered the Watergate scandal are beginning to pick up the scent of something quite serious. Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign could involve collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to, um, influence the election.

We’re a long way from drawing such conclusions. There needs to be a thorough, aggressive and independent investigation into what Flynn did and what he told those Russians. Congressional Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in calling for such a probe.

Let it commence, but please — no “gate” references.

Graham is correct, Trump is wrong on Russia

I am not inclined generally to speak well of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, but I want to say a good word or two now about the South Carolina Republican.

He says the president-elect is wrong about Russia and wants him to wake up and smell the coffee before too long about the nation formerly known as the Evil Empire.


Graham appeared this past Sunday on “Meet the Press” with his good buddy U.S. Sen. John McCain. He said this about his fellow GOP senators, according to The Hill: “Most Republicans are condemning what Russia did. And to those who are gleeful about it — you’re a political hack. You’re not a Republican. You’re not a patriot.”

Trump happens to be one of those Republicans who are “gleeful” about the Russians’ behavior during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump continues to question the CIA assessment that Russia sought to influence the election in Donald J. Trump’s favor. The CIA and other intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian spooks were acting on the director orders of Vladimir Putin; they cheered in the Kremlin when Trump was declared the winner of the election.

Graham is rightfully dismayed at the findings of the intelligence community, as is McCain. These two loyal Republicans have joined others within their party — not to mention Democrats — who want a thorough, bipartisan investigation in Congress to get at the root of what the Russians did and to seek solutions to prevent any foreign government from such overt interference in our electoral process.

If only the president-elect would listen to them.

Here’s how you could have handled the Russia problem

President George W Bush visits CIA Headquarters, March 20, 2001.

Donald J. Trump didn’t ask me for my opinion on this, but I’ll give it to him anyway … not that it matters in Trump World.

CIA officials have concluded that Russian computer hackers had some impact on the 2016 presidential election. To what end, they haven’t disclosed; it’s highly classified at the moment.

They aren’t alone in that assessment. Other intelligence agencies and independent experts also have reached that conclusion.

So, what does the president-elect do? He dismisses the CIA’s findings. He says he doesn’t believe them. He says the Russians didn’t do what has been alleged. He blames Democrats for fomenting a false allegation. How does he know any of that? He doesn’t.

A better response would have been for Trump to do the following: Stand before the media and issue a statement.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the press. I want to issue a brief statement. There’ll be no questions.

The news from the CIA is troubling in the extreme. I hereby join President Obama in calling for a full review of the findings and a public disclosure — to the extent that it is possible — of what, if anything, transpired in the Kremlin that might have had an impact on the election.

I am acutely aware of my statements throughout the campaign that the election would be “rigged” in favor of my opponent, Hillary Clinton. As I’ve noted on other campaign-related matters, I said some things for “dramatic effect.” The “rigged election” allegation was one of them.

I did not envision the “rigged election” charge coming back on me and my campaign in this matter.

Do I believe the Russians tilted the election in my favor? No. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it.

I remain confident that a thorough review of the evidence and the facts will determine we would have won anyway.

But let’s find out the truth of what happened, starting with the review that the president has demanded from the intelligence community.

He didn’t say anything like that. Instead, he has denigrated the intelligence community, as he has done with many other facets of government.

Trump’s stubborn denial of any possible hanky-panky — and his stated disbelief in the work of the CIA’s professional intelligence officers — only darkens the clouds forming over his administration.

The questions only will deepen the distrust many Americans are expressing at this moment over what might have transpired on Election Day.

Don’t mess with Texas polling places


A motto designed to call attention to littering in Texas long ago took on new life as a macho mantra: Don’t mess with Texas.

Well, I guess I ought to apply the perverted definition of that motto here.

Don’t mess with Texas polling officials and places. This warning goes to the Russian government, which has declared its desire to “monitor” the U.S. presidential election that will occur on Nov. 8.


The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, has declined the Russian request to place observers at polling places in Texas.

Good call, Mr. Secretary.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “Please note that only persons authorized by law may be inside of a polling location during voting. All other persons are not authorized and would be committing a class C misdemeanor crime by entering,” Cascos wrote last month in a letter to Alexander K. Zakharov, the Russian consul general in Houston. “We are unable to accommodate your request to visit a polling station.”

Frankly, I consider the Russian request to be the height — or perhaps the depth — of hubris.

Has the Kremlin bought into Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s allegation that the vote-counting will be “rigged” to produce Hillary Rodham Clinton’s election as the next president?

Indeed, U.S. intelligence officials across the board have stated their belief that Russia has been orchestrating the WikiLeaks barrage of e-mails that have sought to damage Clinton’s campaign.

So, they want to take a peek at our electoral process?

Give me a break, man!

The Russians should tend to their own issues. What’s more, imagine the Kremlin’s response if American officials sought permission to look over the Russians’ shoulders.

Trump’s cuddling with Kremlin gets more curious


Suffice to say now that Donald J. Trump has become the Kremlin’s candidate for president of the United States of America.

The Republican presidential nominee thinks Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is a more effective leader than President Obama. He relishes the high praise Putin has heaped on him. Trump says what the heck, let the Russians re-annex Ukraine. He says that NATO allies will need to demonstrate their financial commitment to the defense of western Europe in the event of a Russian attack on, say, the Baltic States.

Now the candidate has ventured onto Russian-sponsored television to criticize the American president and, oh yeah, the U.S. political press.

There was a time when such conduct would be seen as a virtual disqualifier for a presidential candidate. No longer … I guess.

The network on which Trump appeared with that highly esteemed American “journalist” Larry King proclaims itself to be independent. It’s not. It is financed by the Kremlin and has faced repeated criticism of being in the Kremlin’s hip pocket.


Does this man Trump have any clue about the boundaries one must not cross? Ever?

He’s just crossed another one.

Sure, one-time candidate Barack Obama was criticized harshly for speaking ill of American policy while standing on foreign soil. It once was thought that partisan divides ended “at the water’s edge.”

Trump has just picked that old adage out of the trash bin, crumpled it up once again, and then tossed it back.

But … it won’t matter to those who cling to this idiotic notion that Trump merely is railing against “political correctness.”

Shameful, indeed.

Let's ask: Did Putin play a part in this killing?

It’s easy for peanut-gallery observers far away from the action to ask questions those closer to the scene might not ask. So, I’ll ask it: Did Russian strongman/president Vladimir Putin have a hand in the assassination of a leading critic of his government?


I’m not sure if the Russian criminal justice system has a presumed-innocent clause in its framework, but having watched Putin from a great distance over many years, and knowing of his background, my darker side tells me something just doesn’t smell right in Moscow.

Boris Nemtsov was gunned down on a Moscow street — in the shadow of the Kremlin — this past week. Who is this fellow? He was considered perhaps Putin’s leading critic. He had a huge political following in Russia and was seen by some as a serious political threat to the Russian president. Many thousands of them marched in tribute to the slain leader.


Now, what about Putin?

His background is worth examining. In his previous life, Putin fellow led the KGB, the intelligence agency of the Soviet Union, the one-time “Evil Empire” made infamous by its known practice of eliminating critics of the communist regime. The KGB’s name went away when the Soviet Union vaporized in 1991, but its infrastructure has remained pretty much in place, even as the agency was split into two parts.

Putin has served a couple of non-consecutive tours of duty as Russia’s president. Each one has demonstrated the hallmark of this individual’s makeup.

He is as ruthless as ruthless gets. He took over a portion of Ukraine, a supposedly sovereign country bordering Russia. The term “bully” doesn’t even come close to describing Putin.

I have this terrible feeling in my gut that Vladimir Putin — at the very least — just might have a good idea as to who killed Nemtsov. If he does — and I believe that’s the case — let’s not expect Putin to give up whoever did the deed.