Nel's New Day

February 23, 2018

Another Friday, More Russian Indictments

After years of denying any Russian influence in his election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is blaming President Obama for not stopping it and claiming that he never denied any Russian meddling—despite hours of video that show he’s lying. Last weekend, DDT tweeted:

“If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

DDT has no criticism for Russia and no call for action against them, but he lambasted his own intelligence agencies, security advisor H.R. McMaster, Hillary Clinton, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Democratic Party, the Iran deal—pretty much everybody except Russia. In two days at Mar-a-Lago, just 40 miles away from the site of the tragic shooting in Parkland, he tweeted only once about the killing of 17 people at a school 40 miles away from him, accusing the FBI of missing the call about the Florida shooter because it spent too much time on the Russian collusion. Twelve tweets were about the Russian news.

At the Munich Security Conference, U.S. officials told everyone ignore DDT, causing confusion among European officials. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel asked, “Is it deeds? Is it words? Is it tweets?” Another diplomat suggested that foreign policy positions from people such as McMaster who serve in the name of protecting the nation are following those of Germany’s elite during Hitler’s rise and expressed concern about nuclear war because of DDT’s attacks on North Korea.

U.S. pundits, including George W. Bush’s conservative speech writer David Frum, called DDT’s lack of responsibility for the Russian interference a dereliction of duty, also the title of national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s book describing the military leaders’ failure to object to presidents who continued the Vietnam War. McMaster stated that evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election is “now really incontrovertible,” and DDT is taking no action about the ongoing cyber attack on the United States. The president takes an oath to protect the country; DDT is failing his constitutional mandate.

All states are at risk from electronic interference in voting systems as shown by this highly detailed state-by-state report on the status of election security in the United States. Ratings were from B to F: no state received an A, and 17 states were assigned a D or F. A complete explanation for each state’s grade is useful for contacting state elected representatives about specific concerns. Fixing these problems would cost the government $1.2 billion, the same price as one military plane.

Revelations and indictments during the past week bring DDT closer to the Russian involvement.

  • Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney whose firm was accused of cooperating with former DDT campaign manager Paul Manafort in whitewashing the human rights abuses by former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych, has pled guilty to lying to Mueller about his communications with Gates about their work for the Ukrainian government.
  • New charges against Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and campaign worker, has led to Gates pleading guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. He worked for DDT almost a year, beginning before DDT’s nomination as the GOP candidate and continuing as deputy chairman of DDT’s inaugural committee.
  • Part of Gates’ lies include his hiding the involvement of Russian-friendly Rep. Dana Rohrabacker (R-CA) with Manafort in lobbying on behalf of Russia-backed former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.  In 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had said in a meeting that he thought was secret, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Viewing Rohrabacker as a valuable source, Russian intelligence had assigned him a code name.
  • This week also brought additional indictments against Paul Manafort—twice—along with Mueller’s request to increase his $10 million bail. Manafort is still claiming innocence despite all the evidence.

Another danger to DDT could be Russian journalist Lyudmila Savchuk who went undercover into the Russian “Troll Factory,” the group masquerading as U.S. residents to produce and send pro-DDT propaganda. Savchuk and her Internet World team of 15 anti-trolling experts saw how the Factory hired “bot drivers” to create slanted or completely fictitious posts for automated networks that could go viral in social media.

In a discussion about whether DDT is a traitor, James Risen has listed “four important tracks” in the Russia story:

  • Whether there is reliable evidence that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was to help DDT win.
  • Whether DDT or his associates was involved with Russia to assist in his electoral success.
  • Whether these people tried to obstruct justice by blocking a federal investigation of collusion.
  • Whether Russians are helping DDT obstruct justice in continued efforts to discredit Robert Mueller.

Risen also points out that the U.S. media helped the Russian interference by not reporting on how the emails about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were revealed and distributed. He wrote that the media ignored this part of the story “because it was so easy for journalists to write about Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.”

Now the world knows what Russia was doing, despite two years of DDT’s claims that it was a hoax and calling Hillary Clinton a “puppet” of Russia. Twice, DDT said that he took Vladimir Putin’s word that he wasn’t meddling in the presidential election over his own intelligence agencies. Now the conservative media is blaming President Obama because it started in 2014, but DDT was considering a presidential run before then with his 2012 trademark application for “Make America Great Again” and his praise for Putin in 2013 while DDT was in Moscow. In 2014, he referred to his run for president. DDT claims vindication because the indictments show no collusion with Russia, but the indictments are not the end of the investigation.

Thomas Friedman wrote:

“President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.”

DDT’s latest diversion from blame is attacking Jeff Session [sic] for not prosecuting President Obama because of Russian interference in the election. The former president had closed two Russian diplomatic facilities after he learned of the meddling, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked him for making the information public and threatened to retaliate against President Obama if he released any information.

Nicholas Kristof laid out a dozen pieces of the DDT puzzle:

  1. Russia interfered in the U.S. election.
  2. DDT has longstanding business interests in Russia.
  3. DDT has consistently displayed a soft spot for Putin. [Kristof puts this point very mildly!]
  4. DDT picked people with ties to Russia during his campaign, and his aides tweaked the GOP platform to please Russia.
  5. DDT aides secretly met with Russians.
  6. A DDT ally secretly communicated with a Russian mouthpiece.
  7. WikiLeaks, presumably representing Russian interests, engaged in secret correspondence with Donald Trump Jr.
  8. Jared Kushner met a Putin ally and asked about using Russian equipment for secret communications with the Kremlin.
  9. DDT aides consistently and falsely denied contacts.
  10. Russian bots are still joining DDT supporters in tweeting hashtags like #MAGA and #FullOfSchiff.
  11. This is not normal!

Meanwhile 57 percent of people in a recent poll disapprove of DDT’s response to the threat of Russian interference in the 2018 elections and agree that he isn’t fit to serve as president. Over three-fourths believe that the Russians tried to influence the 2016 elections, and 68 percent worry that they may do it again.

A little noticed DDT connection with Russia is his support of so-called “anchor babies.” While he opposes immigrants from the other side of the Mexican border, he promotes those from Russia. Pregnant Russian women frequently book his Miami properties to give birth while they are in the U.S., giving babies dual citizenship with Russia and the right to vote in just 18 years. Miami properties called Little Russia are bundling housing and medical services for a few months, and many companies advertise DDT’s lodgings for these “birth tourists.” The Sunny Medical Center “openly advertises citizenship as one of the primary benefits their clients receive.”

Paul Manafort put VP Mike Pence into the White House, according to GOP strategist John Weaver. Manafort has said that he connected DDT with Pence by manufacturing a story about a mechanical problem for DDT’s plane that forced the team to say over night in Indianapolis because Manafort believed that Pence “had value to Trump as a potential VP nominee.” DDT dumped New Jersey governor Chris Christie for vice-president after he talked with Pence and conferred with his son-in-law, the anyone-but-Christie Jared Kushner. Pence ran the transition team and filled the swamp with people like ousted Michael Flynn for national security adviser. After Flynn’s illegal activities were uncovered, Pence played the “I know nothing” game although Rep. Elijah Cummings (R-MD) revealed that Pence knew about Flynn’s relationship with Turkey and Russia when Pence put Flynn into his “security” position. If DDT goes, the nation is left with a worse alternative—Mike Pence.

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