By D. Allan Kerr
Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but she called the Treason Summit nearly two years before it happened.
During the third debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton claimed Vladimir Putin was manipulating the election for Donald Trump “because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”
Trump, you might recall, could only respond with the classic third-grade comeback: “You’re the puppet. No, you’re the puppet.”
Then Clinton added the following:
“It’s pretty clear you won’t admit that the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him, because he has a very clear favorite in this race.”
As much as it sounds like a summary of this past week, Hillary called this warning back in October 2016. Look it up.
Fast forward to Monday’s summit and you could almost see the smirking Putin pulling the strings as Trump, in front of the whole world, denounced America’s case against Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump was warned of this orchestrated effort way back during the campaign but denied it repeatedly. At one point he suggested it might be “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
A total of 25 Russians have been indicted in Robert Mueller’s investigation for their role in these attacks against our democracy. Every U.S. intelligence agency agrees Russia actively interfered in our election, as have both Senate and House investigative committees. They also say it’s still ongoing.
Trump, like a breathless schoolgirl with a homecoming crush, countered this on Monday by saying Putin, the ex-KGB colonel, was “extremely strong and powerful” in denying these accusations.
He also shared Putin’s “incredible offer” to have the U.S. share its intelligence data with Russia to help get to the bottom of this mess.
I have to say it – has there ever been a stupider Oval Office occupant?
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention. This is a guy whose response to Putin’s meddling was advocating for Russia’s unconditional return to the G-8. Right before the summit, Clinton again flashed prescience when she tweeted “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”
Afterward she simply tweeted, “Well, now we know.”
Trump’s treasonous comments were trashed by lawmakers and pundits from both major parties, but as usual it was Sen. John McCain who – even while battling brain cancer – offered the bluntest assessment.
“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” McCain said. “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”
McCain, a former POW who now chairs the senate Armed Services Committee, also said, “no prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
There will be even more speculation than before about the basis for Trump’s blatant acquiescence. Maybe he merely is the Manchurian Idiot many of us thought him to be all along, feeble and weak regarding all things Russia.
As we’ve seen before, Trump shrinks when confronted face-to-face by a strong personality.
Or maybe there is something more. The most recent indictments emphasized one of the hacking attempts against Clinton’s campaign took place the very day Trump publicly called for Russia to find missing e-mails.
But at best, his repeated assertions that “getting along with Russia is a good thing” echoes British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler prior to World War II. Again, Trump seems inclined to become the Chamberlain of this century.
(As it is, his claim America could “sleep well tonight” after boasting “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” sounds eerily like Chamberlain’s promise of “peace for our time” a year before WWII.)
Those who continue to defend Trump need to honestly ask themselves how they would have responded if Obama had uttered these claims, word-for-word, in Helsinki. Honestly.
Trump professed during the summit he doesn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in the presidential election in the first place. Well, I think the reason is pretty clear, even to Trump himself.
And he demonstrates the brilliance of Putin’s foresight every week.
D. Allan Kerr looks forward to seeing what tough stances Washington will take now against Russia’s aggression.
(July 18, 2018)
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