Opinion: Trump drawn to Russia like an oft-burned moth to flame

(AP)

Russia. It’s uncanny how it’s always about Russia.

Why was Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, forced to resign last August in the middle of the campaign? He did so because of a scandal involving payments that he had taken from Russian oligarchs, a scandal that may yet end with criminal charges.

Why was Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, forced to resign? Because he had been caught lying about secret conversations with the ambassador from Russia. When FBI subpoenas were issued seeking evidence in a criminal probe against Flynn, the subject was tens of thousands of dollars of unreported income from a foreign source. That source was Russia.

When hackers broke into computers at the Democratic National Committee and into the email account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, the hacks were traced back to Russia. When that material was “weaponized” by leakers against the Clinton campaign, the U.S. intelligence community concluded unanimously that it was part of an effort to swing the election to Trump. The perpetrator was Russia, and I’ve barely gotten started.

Why was Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, forced to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into foreign interference in our election? Because he too had a meeting with the Russian ambassador that he had failed to disclose under oath. Just last week, when Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey, he acknowledged that he did so in part because of Comey’s investigation into Russia’s role in the election.

Then, on the morning after Comey’s firing, who did Trump host in a rare and apparently jovial meeting in the Oval Office? The foreign minister and ambassador from Russia, the country that a few months earlier had launched those attacks on the integrity of our democracy.

Now we learn that in that meeting, Trump decided to give away highly classified, highly sensitive intelligence — intelligence so important that it could not be disseminated inside the U.S. government or shared with our allies. The breach was so unexpected and considered so important that the heads of the CIA and National Security Agency had to be immediately notified of what the Russians had learned, to minimize the damage.

Initially, the Trump White House strongly denied that such a breach had occurred. That was their story, and they weren’t sticking to it. By the next morning, unable to refute the wall of reporting to the contrary, the White House shifted direction to argue that the breach had occurred but had been “wholly appropriate.”

“As president I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump explained in a tweet. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

As president, Trump does have the legal power to release even the most sensitive classified data to anyone he chooses. That doesn’t make it wise or even acceptable, and many inside U.S. intelligence agencies are saying that Trump’s action was neither. It is also plausible to share such information with other countries, but such decisions are always carefully considered and thoroughly vetted, with intelligence agencies fully consulted on the consequences.

This revelation was completely off the cuff.

So we are back where we started, trying to puzzle through the source of Trump’s obsessive interest in courting Russia and Vladimir Putin, like an oft-burned moth returning to a flame. And despite the fact that large majorities of Americans tell pollsters that they want an independent, nonpartisan investigation, Republicans in Congress continue to reject the very idea.

Reader Comments 0

1146 comments
Mary Ann Gardner
Mary Ann Gardner

It's uncanny AJC can't seem to find anything good to say

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

The report came out Seth Rich working for the DNC was the one responsible for leaking to wiki leaks as we all knew people with a brain there or no Russians hacking it was an inside job at the DNC which Killery then murdered him or DNC,Google this it is all over the real news channels not the anti-trump CNN FAKE NEWS

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

No , your confused demoncrats are drawn to Russia. Trump as president is meeting with Russia, another super power. It's called being a president. Obama was not presidential at all.

Stewart Coleman Speights
Stewart Coleman Speights

For months, the FBI have been investigating Russian interference in the American presidential elections. ZEMBLA is investigating another explosive dossier concerning Trump’s involvement with the Russians: Trump’s business and personal ties to oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. Powerful billionaires suspected of money laundering and fraud, and of having contacts in Moscow and with the mafia. What do these relationships say about Trump and why does he deny them? How compromising are these dubious business relationships for the 45th president of the United States? And are there connections with the Netherlands? ZEMBLA meets with one of Trump’s controversial cronies and speaks with a former CIA agent, fraud investigators, attorneys, and an American senator among others. https://youtu.be/1bEdMuKq30I

789456
789456

Why are we even talking about Russia.  President Obama made it very clear to candidate Romney that Russia was not any type of issue.  If I recall he even said the 60's called and wanted their foreign policy back.  

Charlie Wright
Charlie Wright

I can't believe what Im reading. Are you people for real.

Tim Duke Sr.
Tim Duke Sr.

By the media and liberals not in reality...makes you wonder what's liberals hiding ..

Lynn Dreisch
Lynn Dreisch

Sad sad sad you are lying trash . I'm going to block you I'm tired if the trash you spew

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Ya know we don’t need to look to Russia for any affirmation here. We need to ask questions about why is this intelligence community trying to upend the President of the United States with these leaks? Here’s the Washington Post story (holds up physical copy of the newspaper) I mean its, and all over town people are saying the President did this and that — look, I disagree with President Trump on a number of issues, but on this one, there can only be one President and somebody in the intelligence community is trying to upend this President in order to pursue a policy direction that puts us in conflict with Russia. The question is why? and who? and we need to find out.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@DownInAlbany Because the intelligence community knows that Trump has done something that will rock the soul of this country, they want him out, and they are not going to stop until he's gone.  Basically, they know stuff that we don't.  

USMC2841
USMC2841

Russia. Russia. Russia.  Mitt Romney you genius.  You're the only one who saw it coming.

honested
honested

@USMC2841 

At that time, it was just another place mitt romney was wrong.

IF we had never invade Iraq, there would be no reason to concern ourselves with russia.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@USMC2841 Mitt was just a little early with his evaluation of the looming Russian threat, how quickly he was dismissed back in 2012. He tried to warn everyone again in 2016, dismissed as sour grapes against Trump.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Because, hey, you know, Russia is an ally now.  You see, in the fight against Islam, Russia is in the same boat we are. They're fighting ISIS with Syria, and we're fighting ISIS with Turkey and Iraq. 

So, OF COURSE, we should be giving them all the Intel about ISIS that we can. 

And OF COURSE, we should be working in secret (i.e. lie to congress) about payments from Russia. 

And OF COURSE, Russia (Putin) wants Trump to be a puppet so they can gain power as the US weakens from infighting about Trump. 


So, nothing to see here, move along. It's all common sense now. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@LogicalDude I think the issue with Russia and Syria is more in Identifying ISIS targets. The Syrian /Russian alliance seems to target all dissenters the same ISIS and the Syrian opposition forces. In Fact in Syria it appears the Bombs are falling mainly on the Syrian opposition .

HDB0329
HDB0329

The 25th Amendment Solution to Remove Trump


"A child cannot be president. I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.

But a child also cannot really commit “high crimes and misdemeanors” in any usual meaning of the term. There will be more talk of impeachment now, more talk of a special prosecutor for the Russia business; well and good. But ultimately I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase. I do not believe he is really capable of the behind-the-scenes conspiring that the darker Russia theories envision. And it is hard to betray an oath of office whose obligations you evince no sign of really understanding or respecting.


Which is not an argument for allowing him to occupy that office. It is an argument, instead, for using a constitutional mechanism more appropriate to this strange situation than impeachment: the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for the removal of the president if a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment."



....wow......people are really looking at the options to saving this nation....problem is...they need to  get Pence and Ryan simultaneously......

gotalife
gotalife

We must address the reality of what happens when the gop win power post trump.

honested
honested

pootin assures us there was nothing unusual in the unwarranted release of classified information.

He demeans those who do not worship russia's interference in the operations of the United States as crazy and dangerous.

I feel so much better knowing that.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Paul42 So the Russians may have made their own "tapes". 

gotalife
gotalife

ryan said we will wait to hear from comey.


They already know.

honested
honested

A nimrod from 'newsmax' was just interviewed on BBC World. He blamed chaffetz for the various shortcomings in the White House and investigation thereof.

I see how the deplorabillies are so firmly able to ignore the truth.

gotalife
gotalife

Poor wittle gop snowflakes.


They want our horrible media to go back to letting them get away with everything,

KUTGF
KUTGF

National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump's name in "as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he's mentioned," according to one source, who relayed conversations he had with NSC officials.
___________

Really? 

Kamchak
Kamchak

Paul Ryan: "We're going to want to hear from Comey".

I think you want absolutely none of that.

honested
honested

@Kamchak 

Why didn't they hear from him last week?

We would be so much closer to ending this.

gotalife
gotalife

gop leaders out of touch with reality.


Now is the time to end the gop.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@gotalife @ScubaSteve If I have to serve as your voice of reason, I will.


Can you imagine an unchecked Democrat party? No thank you.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@gotalife @ScubaSteve I am amazed how you think Impeaching Trump will finish the GOP. Most of the hacks in the GOP hate Trump as much as you do . The GOP establishment was just as shocked as HRC when Trump beat Hillary. Trump won in spite or to Spite the GOP establishment.

gotalife
gotalife

Starting tto see the word impeachment in media.

BTC
BTC

@gotalife And the lack of Republicants willing to face the cameras in support of the CEO.   Looks like the fit has finally hit the shan...

gotalife
gotalife

What bombshell will intell drop today.

Impeach and disband the out of touch with reality gop.



DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a democrat, said on Fox News Tuesday morning that there is a “high BS quotient” on claims made by anonymous sources in the Washington Post story that claimed President Donald Trump provided classified information to Russian officials.

Kucinich told host Shannon Bream, “If this information was so sensitive, then why did intel leak it to the Washington Post? Whoever leaked it undermined the alliance.”

The Democrat former congressman continued:

…something is out of control here. there is an effort here to up end the relationship with russia. put us at odds. it started during the obama administration in october of 2016 when it was a peace agreement or an agreement to end the conflict with syria and all of a sudden it was up ended by people in the pentagon and c.i.a. so they were making policy over the president’s head. we have one president and he is being undermined by some people in intelligence.

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany Fox News ears shut off after that and I locked my daughters and maid in the attic for their own protection.