Several stories related to Trump and the Russia investigation broke yesterday, and they were all noteworthy.
The New York Times reported that two weeks before his inauguration, Trump was given a highly classified, detailed intelligence briefing that Russia had staged a massive cyber campaign to influence our election at the direction of Vladimir Putin.
Yet for months afterward, Trump insisted in public statements, interviews and appearances that he didn’t know anything about “the Russia thing” and pretended that he had no reason to believe Putin had any involvement in attacking our country. Trump, in effect, tried to hide the fact that Putin and Russia had been attacking us for fear it would make his election win look less legitimate–at the very least.
Rather than acknowledge an attack by Russia and take action to retaliate or at least defend against further attack, Trump chose to put his personal fears and desire to save face ahead of our national security.
At an appearance yesterday, Trump continued this con. When asked by a reporter, “was Russia still targeting the United States?” Trump replied “No.” The statement reinforced his comments in Helsinki that placed Putin’s denial of cyber attacks on par with the warnings of our entire intelligence community. Cable TV and social media exploded in condemnation again, with a broad range of observers demanding to understand why Trump was willing to bash and criticize everyone under the Sun…except Putin.
It also came to light yesterday that Russian investigators want to question US citizens in exchange for allowing Mueller to question the 12 hackers indicted recently by the DOJ. One of the citizens Russia wants to interrogate is Bill Browder, who was responsible for the passage of the Magnitsky Act that sanctions Russian oligarch money. Another citizen they want to interrogate is former Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul. Both Browder and McFaul have been harsh critics of Putin, and now Putin, to retaliate, has cooked up accusations that both of the men were involved in shady money transfers in Russia.
Yesterday’s final outrage came during the White House press conference when Spokesperson Sarah Sanders was asked if the administration might allow Russian investigators to interrogate Ambassador McFaul, and she responded that Trump and his advisers were going to discuss the issue and release a statement later. Both Democrats and Republicans were outraged that Sanders did not immediately reject the idea of Russians interrogating our ambassador, and many wondered if Trump may have agreed to allow such an exchange of investigators during his two-hour “no witnesses” meeting with Putin. His job is to protect American citizens, not offer them up to foreign governments, and cable TV last night was full of former diplomats who were horrified by his utter failure to protect McFaul and tell Putin to go pound sand. Putin’s offer also aimed to put the corrupt Russian justice system on par with ours, and this prospective attempt at equivalence produced widespread bi-partisan condemnation.
As Trump sells out our national security to the Russians and betrays his oath of office, Rep John Faso continues to fiddle. He’s running around the district holding meetings that he only discloses after the fact, for fear of protesters. It bears repeating that Rep John Faso lacks the courage to stand up to a corrupt president who has failed at every turn to protect our nation for Russian cyber warfare, and puts his own personal agenda above our safety and welfare. The only way we will ever slow Trump’s destructive authoritarian regime is to take back Congress, so let’s keep working to Fire Feckless Faso…