Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He added insult to the injury of his refusal to obey the Russian sanctions law.

Last July, in response to overwhelming evidence that the Putin regime had interfered in the 2016 election on Trump's behalf, the Congress voted 517-5 for punitive economic sanctions against Russia and individuals with close financial ties to Putin. Last night, hours before the final deadline for those sanctions to go into effect, Trump officially refused to enforce them on the grounds that the mere threat of sanctions had improved Russia's behavior. 

Trump did not make public any evidence to support this claim, but earlier that same day his own CIA chief declared that he had "every expectation" that Russia would try to disrupt the 2018 elections. The White House did, however, release a required list of Russian "oligarchs" for potential future sanctions.

Today, the Treasury Department confirmed that this list had been taken directly from a 2017 Forbes magazine list of the wealthiest Russians--including several figures who are political opponents of the Putin regime. The deliberate creation of a list that can't actually be used angered American legislators of both parties--but Moscow seems to be taking it in good humor.

Why is this a problem?

  • The only explanations for this that don't involve outright corruption of the presidency by Russia are the ones that have Trump as psychotically unable to accept any constraints on his power.
  • Trump's refusal to admit that Russia interfered on his behalf to weaken the United States is either evidence of his guilt, or evidence of his unfitness for office.
  • A president who will not conscientiously enforce the laws of the United States violates his oath of office.