Opinion: What is going on with Trump and Russia?

gen-mike-flynn-ap

(AP)

Last year, private citizen Mike Flynn — before he became Mike Flynn, national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump — held multiple conversations with Russia’s ambassador about the future of economic sanctions imposed on Russia. The effect of those illicit conversations — which were taped by U.S. intelligence, transcribed and are now being leaked — was to undermine U.S. attempts to punish Russia for meddling in our elections.

In those conversations, Flynn also reportedly urged Russia not to retaliate after the Obama administration ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, suggesting that better days were ahead.  Surprise surprise, that’s exactly the course that Vladimir Putin chose to take. It’s almost as if Putin had known something, as if he was acting on inside assurances.

“We will not create any problems for U.S. diplomats,” a smug Putin announced the day after Flynn’s conversation, casting himself as the magnanimous leader at America’s expense. “We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.” Putin even invited the children of U.S. diplomats to “the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.”

To which Trump responded:

trumpputin

Think about that: Russia helps Trump get elected, a conclusion that is backed by professionals at all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. When Russia then gets punished for its attack on our system, a top Trump associate reaches out to undermine that punishment. Together, Russian leaders and Trump associates secretly coordinate a response, which President-elect Trump then publicly celebrates.

But wait, it gets worse. When news broke back in December that Flynn had had as many as five conversations with the Russian ambassador in a single day, Flynn lied, point-blank, to the American people about the nature and content of those conversations. He claimed that the topic of sanctions had never been mentioned and that the sole purpose of the calls had been to set up post-inaugural contacts.

Other top Trump officials, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence, then knowingly or unknowingly repeated Flynn’s lies. As recently as Wednesday, in fact, Flynn was still denying point blank that he and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had discussed sanctions.

By Thursday, when it became apparent that the truth was about to break, Flynn came down with an extremely sudden onset of amnesia, saying that he no longer had a clear recollection of what had happened in those December conversations. (A reading of the transcripts could surely refresh his memory.)

And of course, this hasn’t happened in isolation. It is a continuation of a damning pattern of behavior in which the Russians help Trump and Trump helps the Russians. In an interview just last week, when Bill O’Reilly of Fox News pointed out to Trump that his buddy Putin is a cold killer whose political opponents are poisoned, shot, beaten to death or vanish into thin air, Trump brushed it all aside.

“Lot of killers,” Trump said. “We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump was then asked about Russia’s continued military assault on neighboring Ukraine, and once again he sounded more like a Kremlin mouthpiece than a president of the United States. He echoed Moscow’s denial that Russia had any control over the forces that are attacking Ukraine, forces that are using Russian tanks and Russian missiles and Russian military communications and Russian military personnel, with supply lines also based in Russia.

“We don’t know, are they uncontrollable?” Trump asked. “Are they uncontrolled? That happens also. We’re going to find out; I would be surprised, but we’ll see.”

It’s truly, truly bizarre. It’s bizarre to believe that a dictator such as Putin doesn’t have complete control over what is happening in Ukraine. It is bizarre to propose a moral equivalence between the far-from-perfect actions of the United States and the murderous, thuggish predations of Putin and his KGB kleptocracy. It is bizarre to watch Trump pick fights with the leaders of Australia, Mexico, Germany and France, among others, yet find it impossible to say a critical word about the likes of Putin. It is bizarre that Russia could have meddled in our election and pay almost no price for it.

And it is certainly bizarre to watch Republican leaders in Washington avert their eyes and pretend not to see.

 

Reader Comments 0

1396 comments
PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Donnie_Pinko @PaulinNH  Trump seems to think that the way to run government is to follow The Apprentice model - set the underlings fighting with each other.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

It's been out for the better part of a year, but I've still not read it, and I really do need to.


http://www.salon.com/2016/06/13/this_is_how_the_gop_rigged_congress_the_secret_plan_that_handcuffed_obamas_presidency_but_backfired_in_donald_trump/


I've heard him interviewed before, and I'd like to know more about how rational people can use some of the same tools the GOP used in 2010 to wrest control back to something resembling a representative democracy, instead of this piece of crap we're coping with at the moment.

rimsky
rimsky

A disaster declaration frees up federal funds to help pay for damage. Presidents usually respond positively to such requests, but Trump is an unconventional commander-in-chief. Last week, he called California “out of control” ― though he didn’t explain exactly what he meant. Trump also threatened to block federal funds if California goes ahead with plans to become a sanctuary state for immigrants.

++++

I hope CA gets the help they need.  The Federal Govt should already be there.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

The contours of TrumpCare are starting to take shape, and things are looking good. If you're a pale, old white guy. The following are all covered items, not subject to deductibles, co pays or co insurance:

- hair implants

- tanning beds

- tanning creams

- penis enlargers

- viagra

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Eye wonder Oh come on...get it right.  Enlargement therapy is only for those with small hands. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

td - Obama was very popular personally but the American people did not like his policies..

--

WHICH policies did they not like and WHY? 

Was it because they were misconceived or because they did no go far enough? 

THAT is the decisive question, is it not?

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@Donnie_Pinko @RandroidWillBoy


The answer to the question is most of his policies fall into the marginally popular generally split by party lines.


His legacy is as the first african american president who did not harm...excepting foreign policy perhaps.


What else will the masses remember?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RandroidWillBoy @Donnie_Pinko

I'm pretty sure his decision NOT to punt on reforming our FUBAR health insurance system (as many had advised) and make that a top priority in his first months in office will be remembered, actually.

As will his efforts to mitigate a lot of truly stupid crap concocted by the loons who were swept in during the Tea Party astroturfing campaign.

rimsky
rimsky

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls employees were instructed this week to remove all Ivanka Trump signage and mix her products with the rest of the stores’ vast offerings.

++++

Make a $ bin and pile in there.  What does not sell charge them back including shipping cost

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@rimsky Comrade, obviously you have never worked in  a retail business. You can put merchandise in the dollar bin, but the retailer takes the loss either way, no sending unsold products back. You book the order you pay for the product.

rimsky
rimsky

Some of Trump's Tweets from earlier years:


“Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing,” Trump tweeted. “Come on Kate!”

and then

Trump has also said that he could have had sex with Diana, Princess of Wales—making the comments only a few days after the princess’s death in 1997.


https://parade.com/543823/roisinkelly/donald-trumps-tweet-about-duchess-of-cambridge-causes-a-stir-in-the-u-k/?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_1445405


Classy right?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@rimsky  I would guess that William and Kate will be elsewhere when Trump visits Liz this summer

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Kamchak @PaulinNH  Yes - it was.  A draw was a fair result but the Blues should have had a couple of goals.  Rom and Lookman both had chances they should have put away.  A good result for your guys at Anfield today.  A win tomorrow and Chelsea is 12 points clear.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@PaulinNH

I would've preferred a 0-0 draw at Liverpool with 2 red cards apiece.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@PaulinNH 

Wishing for injuries is bad karma.

Interesting controversy over the hand ball goal at The Emirates

Kamchak
Kamchak

@PaulinNH 

Agreed 100%, but as they were discussing on air at NBCSN, the rules do not explicitly forbid it.

honested
honested

OK, I've really got to get to Nordstroms while they have anything left!

honested
honested

@PaulinNH @Donnie_Pinko 

Then load up and leave.

If the constituents aren't going to be compliant the 'leaders' will just stick to fund-raisers!

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234 

OK, so you have a few more people turn out in NY and CA again, so what? The electoral college still rules.

(shrug)

I never posted anything about the EC, snowflake.

My point -- since it seems to have flown over your head -- is:  I believe if more of the electorate gets involved, the politics of this country would shift left.

honested
honested

@td1234 @Kamchak 

What is the basis for any assumption that 'rural' areas provide more effective leadership?

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak "If" is the key term and that "if" is dependent on where those people get involved. Are those more involved people coming from urban centers or CA and NY or are they coming from rural areas of the country? 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234 

I contend that it really doesn't matter. More people from all over the country.

honested
honested

@Kamchak @td1234 

Yet, in some world views, they will only count if they live in the 'correct places'.

Artifice, layered upon contrivance.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

td1

Too bad for you that Presidential elections are 50 individual state level elections and has nothing to do with the overall popular vote. 

-

Are you saying the popular support a president comes into office with, measured among other things by the popular vote margin, is of no importance in terms of what he is able to actually do?

td1234
td1234

@Donnie_Pinko The only thing that is of importance is who the American people send to the Congress with a President. 


Lets take Obama for an example, very popular personally but the American people hated his policies hence from 2010 on they sent Republicans to Congress to stop his agenda. No matter how much Obama complained to the people they still just increased the number of Republicans to stop his agenda and he still left office very popular personally. 

td1234
td1234

@honested Oh you mean the Conservatives are using the same standards the progressives used in 2009? 


Got it

honested
honested

@td1234 @Donnie_Pinko 

Translation:

The 2010 redistricting constructed even more 'safe seats' for republiklans so that even though there were more votes cast for Democrats, those Democrats were denied representation.

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

When was active hostility and efforts to usurp the well being of conserrrrrrrrrrrrrvatives ever an objective?

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@td1234 @Donnie_Pinko 

Lets take Obama for an example, very popular personally but the American people hated his policies hence from 2010 on they sent

-

Um, and yet that same electorate re-elected Obama handily over the Wall St. stiff in 2012. 

Try again.

td1234
td1234

@Donnie_Pinko @td1234 As I said he was very popular personally but the American people did not like his policies so they kept him in place and gave him a second term while at the same time putting more and more Republicans in charge of Congress and state governments.