Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ready For Putin-Gate II? Is The Kremlin Targeting The Midterms?


When I read Tuesday evening that Trumpanzee chief of staff John Kelly had been calling members of Congress and telling them to feel free to criticize Trump for his treasonous behavior in Helsinki, I assumed Kelly had cleared that first with Señor T and that, for once, Trump was thinking strategically instead of like a self-obsessed 4 year old. But I was wrong. Trump had no idea what Kelly was up to. Gabriel Sherman explained for Vanity Fair readers what actually did happen: "THIS WAS THE NIGHTMARE SCENARIO": THE WEST WING REVOLTS AFTER TRUMP EMBRACES PUTIN

Trump was furious that Americans weren't overjoyed by his supine posture towards Putin and that no one in the political universe was defending his treason. "The mood among West Wing advisers," wrote Sherman, "was downright funereal. 'This was the nightmare scenario,' another Republican in frequent contact with the administration said. This was viewed as much worse than Access Hollywood, Charlottesville or the "shithole countries."
While National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to a source, thought Trump’s remarks were ill-advised, he believed that walking them back would only add fuel to the outrage pyre and make the president look weak. But Chief of Staff John Kelly was irate. According to a source, he told Trump it would make things worse for him with Robert Mueller. He also exerted pressure to try to get the president to walk back his remarks. According to three sources familiar with the situation, Kelly called around to Republicans on Capitol Hill and gave them the go-ahead to speak out against Trump. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan held televised press conferences to assert that Russia did meddle in the election.

Trump was boxed in. With seemingly only Rand Paul, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson in his corner, Trump decided to backtrack. Appearing before reporters this afternoon, Trump blamed his comments on a grammatical mistake. “I would like to clarify, in a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’” he said, reading from a statement. “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’”

To those who know Trump best, the 24-hour reversal is a sign that he’s unnerved by the intensity of the backlash he provoked. “The president sent a very clear message [that] his worldview is in sync with his base and members of his party,” former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told me. “Any of these other kerfuffles, if he had addressed it the next day, we wouldn’t have had that many days of things like shithole countries.”
But Trump's been tripping all over his messaging ever since. CNN reported that by yesterday he was contradicting his own intelligence agencies again. His latest was that even if the Russians did it in 2016 they've stopped. If you follow the way Trump's tiny and venal brain works you know what he said-- that means the Russians are absolutely doing it again and, again, colluding with Trump and his team. He messed up the messaging by declining "an opportunity to clarify his remarks when questioned by reporters on the White House South Lawn. It amounted to another day of shifting stories and confusing positions for a President whose ties to Russia are under scrutiny, and whose deference to Russian leader Vladimir Putin has garnered widespread condemnation."
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump was asked by a reporter if Russia was still targeting the US.

"No," he responded, looking directly at the reporter. The President's answer was the latest in a series of changing statements about whether he endorses the US intelligence community's conclusions about Russia's interference in the 2016 election and its continued efforts to disrupt future US elections.

...On Monday, Trump's director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, emphatically said that Russia's attempts to attack the US were ongoing.

"We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy," Coats wrote in a statement released after Trump appeared to side with Putin, rather than US intelligence agencies, on who was to blame for the election interference.

Two days earlier, Coats was more forceful in his warnings that Russia and other countries would continue their attempts to breach US systems.

"The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point," Coats said on Friday. "Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack."

He compared the "warning signs" to those the United States faced ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and named the "worst offenders" as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea-- with Russia the "most aggressive foreign actor, no question."

"They continue their efforts to undermine our democracy," Coats said.

...Trump's appearances over the past two days were meant to quell the outcry, however, his assertion that Russia is no longer targeting the US did not help.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a confidant of Trump's, said on Twitter that there was "A BIG discrepancy between President Trump's statement and DNI Coates' warning," and expressed disagreement with Trump, saying, "My personal view: the Russians are at (it) again."

And Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer quickly criticized the President's comment, tweeting, "Mr. President. Walk this back too."

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At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

between putin's meddling and the democraps' ineptitude and corruption, you still see a big anti-red wave?

americans of both stripes (there exist only two stripes in America) are colossal dumbfucktards. How can they possibly do anything useful in such a petri dish?

The smartest voters have nobody to pick from and just stay home.

How can a democracy possibly function when the smartest voters cannot vote because there isn't a single decent candidate for whom to vote?

At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes to both questions. Openly and blatantly, because the "democrats" have NEVER done anything about Republican crimes. Thus the Republicans need not fear any retribution for their vile actions against the nation.


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