Saturday, July 22, 2017
Putin and Trumpies....So Happy Together
Good Lord, Trump supporters, how deep into denial do you have to be to wave off what has become a mountain of evidence in the Russia investigation as a hoax or a witch hunt?
We've known for months that several of Trump's associates seemed to have an unholy affinity for meeting with Russians even before the election. We also know that they all lied about it on their various forms and interviews, including Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions and Paul Manafort and others..
We know that the only change the Trumpies insisted on in the Republican platform was to ease up on language taking Russia to task for their hostile actions in the Crimea and Ukraine.
We know that Trump has never fully seemed to accept the conclusion by our intelligence agencies that Russia made an all-out effort to screw up our elections in his favor. He seems to trust their guys more than our guys.
We know that Michael Flynn was on the payroll of the pro-Putin Ukrainian forces and possibly Russia itself but he didn't admit it or register as a foreign agent until much later. We know that President Obama warned Trump against naming Flynn as National Security Director but he did it anyway.
We know that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was so concerned, she went to the White House to warn them that Michael Flynn could be compromised and a potential victim of Russian blackmail. They ignored her and Flynn continued to sit in on highly classified meetings, including a phone call with Putin.
We know that when the administration finally was driven to firing Flynn, they made up a sob story about how he'd allowed poor innocent Mike Pence to go on television and tell a lie. But that WAS the lie. Mike Pence was the head of Trump's transition team and knew all of this.
We know that Jared Kushner has had to revise his security clearance application at least three times as more meetings with Russians came to light, including one with a sanctioned Russian bank and one to discuss the possibility of a back channel with Russia, using RUSSIAN facilities, presumably to bypass America's own intelligence services.
We now know that, in a scene reminiscent of the Keystone Kops, Donald Trump, Jr. received emails from Russian entities wanting a meeting and promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. "I love it," said dear old naive Don. He first told us that it was him, Jared, Paul Manafort, a Russian attorney and a translator. Mostly, he said, it was a bust because it was a discussion of Russian to American adoptions, not the actual collusion he was hoping for. "And that's everything," Don Jr told Hannity.
But we know it wasn't. Turns out there was also an ex-KGB agent and Russian/American "fixer", a total of 8 people in all and yes, they were concerned with adoption as it related to the Magnitsky Act, one of Putin's most hated sanctions.
We know Trump fired James Comey in an effort to shut down the Russian investigation. (We know this because he admitted it....on television).
We know that Trump invited the Russian ambassador and foreign minister into the Oval Office where a Russian photographer was allowed to take photos but NO American media was let in. We saw Trump yucking it up with the Russians. We know he told them Comey was a "nut job" and firing him had relieved some of the pressure on him.
We know that Trump blabbed some truly top secret information to the Russians...information we had gotten from Israeli intelligence.
We know that at the G20 summit, the meeting between Putin and Trump that was scheduled for half an hour lasted two hours. How much Trump actually "pressed" Putin on whether Russia interfered in our elections, we don't know, but it appears that they both decided to forgive and forget.
We know they also had another intimate meeting while at a dinner at the G20, with only a Russian translator to hear them (no American translator so Trump was at the Russians mercy, a position no smart American president would ever let himself be put in). This meeting lasted a little over an hour. We didn't know about this additional get-together until much later because the White House never announced it until they were forced to and we still don't know what Trump and Putin discussed.
We know that the Senate voted 97-2 to increase sanctions on Russia but the Trump administration is fighting it tooth and nail and it is now bogged down in the House.
Meanwhile, the Trump true believers continue to laugh all this off. Polls show that they like and admire Vladimir Putin. It matters not to them that his people poison, strangle, shoot, knife and throw their opponents off buildings. Or kidnap them and let them die in prison. Or murder journalists who are critical of the regime. Or lock up protesters.
What it shows is that they don't value our democracy. They don't believe in the checks and balances and system of justice that has made America great. They just want their own way by any means it takes to get it. I can see where they and their president would feel a sense of kinship with the Russian dictator.