National Opinions

Face it: It’s Trump, Putin vs. America

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) AP

From the beginning of his administration, President Donald Trump has responded to every new bit of evidence from the CIA, FBI and NSA that Russia intervened in our last election on his behalf by either attacking Barack Obama or the Democrats for being too lax — never President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his unprecedented cyberhit on our democratic process.

Such behavior by an American president is so perverse, so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.

Everything that happened in Helsinki on Monday only reinforces that conclusion. My fellow Americans, we are in trouble and we have some big decisions to make. This was a historic moment in the entire history of the United States.

There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trump vacated that oath on Monday, and Republicans can no longer run and hide from that fact. Every single Republican lawmaker will be — and should be — asked on the election trail: Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the CIA, FBI and NSA?

It started with the shocking tweet that Trump issued before he even sat down with Putin: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

The official Twitter account of the Russian foreign ministry — recognizing a useful idiot when it saw one — immediately “liked” Trump’s tweet and later added: “We agree.”

It only got worse when, in his joint news conference with Putin, Trump was asked explicitly if he believed the conclusion of his intelligence agencies that Russia hacked our elections. The president of the United States basically threw his entire intelligence establishment under a bus, while throwing out a cloud of dust about Hillary Clinton’s server to disguise what he was doing.

Trump actually said on the question of who hacked our election, “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia. And in a bit of shocking moral equivalence, Trump added of the United States and Russia: “We are all to blame … both made some mistakes.” Trump said that it was actually the American probe into the Russian hacking that has “kept us apart.”

To watch an American president dis his own intelligence agencies, blame both sides for the Russian hacking of our election — and deliberately try to confuse the fact that there is still no solid proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia with the fact that Russia had its own interestin trying to defeat the anti-Putin Hillary Clinton — actually made me sick to my stomach.

Trump is simply insanely obsessed with what happened in the last election. But now he is president, and the fact that he may not have colluded with the Russians doesn’t mean he does not, as president, have a responsibility to ensure the Russians be punished for interfering in our last election on their own and be effectively deterred from doing so in the future. That is in his job description.

Listening to Trump, it was as if Franklin Roosevelt had announced after Pearl Harbor: “Hey, both sides are to blame. Our battleships in Hawaii were a little provocative to Japan — and, by the way, I had nothing to do with the causes for their attack. So cool it.”

In the past few years what has Putin done to deserve an American president sucking up to him for an “extraordinary” relationship? Putin has seized Crimea, covertly invaded Ukraine, provided the missiles that shot down a civilian Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, bombed tens of thousands of refugees out of Syria into Europe, destabilizing Europe, been involved in the death of a British woman who accidentally handled a Russian nerve agent deployed to kill ex-Russian agents in England and deployed misinformation to help tip the vote in Britain toward exiting and fracturing the European Union.

Most of all, Putin unleashed a cyberattack on America’s electoral process, aimed at both electing Trump – with or without Trump’s collusion – and sowing division among U.S. citizens.

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