Donald Trump inexplicably glossed over and basically ignored all of these criminal acts in a press conference held on Monday. Here are some of the worst of Trump’s statements with my analysis:
1. “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. … And I think we’re all to blame.”
2. “There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. And people are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign.”
3. “But just to say it one time again — and I say it all the time — there was no collusion. I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign.” Statements 2 and 3 are premature at best. We await the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation. This statement is sloppy and irresponsible.
4. “My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
We demonstrated from the most recent indictment that Russia is responsible. Perhaps the reader may respond by saying that the president didn’t know about this information at the time of the press briefing. This response will not work. First, Donald Trump is the president. He has access to all of the relevant classified material. Second, the aforementioned indictment is not the only indictment issued by Mueller that include details about Russian hacking. Another indictment was issued on February 16th and it accused 13 other Russians of crimes related to hacking. Third, there is the joint intelligence report issued on January 16th of this year. Let’s remind ourselves of the key findings of that report:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.
• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.
Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.
• Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.
• We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.
• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.
• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.
We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. (pgs. 7-8)
Remember, this report is the conclusion reached by The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA). (pg. i) The consensus of the intelligence community is clear.
5. “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Why would Trump dismiss the evidence in favor of Putin’s word?
Monday, Trump chose to side with Putin’s statements over against all of this detailed evidence. This is beyond the pale. Here are my questions:
1. Is Trump irreparably incompetent?
2. Does Trump have an irrational and crippling fear of Vladimir Putin?
3. Does Trump’s admiration of Russian harmfully exceed his duty to America?
4. Does Trump have business interests that significantly cloud his ability to make cogent strategic assessments?
5. Does Putin have so much leverage over Trump that he can no longer act in America’s best interests?
6. Did Trump say or commit to things that are harmful or even fatal to the US during his private meeting with Putin? This is no exaggeration. Apparently, Trump and Putin worked out a plan on Syria during their closed one-on-one meeting. Al Jazeera:
At their joint press conference following the summit, Syria was barely mentioned, but this does not mean that it wasn’t discussed during the one-on-one meeting. The brief statements made on Syria gave some indication on where Trump stands and what goals Putin is pursuing.
Impeachment proceeding should be a real consideration if the answer to any these question can be truthfully answered affirmatively. Donald Trump is probably no longer fit to be president.
We are at a pivotal moment.