Friday, October 19, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He missed the point about ongoing Russian attacks on democracy.

The Justice Department revealed today that it had indicted yet another Russian agent for using social media bots to spread disinformation in advance of the 2018 elections. A reporter broached the subject with Trump, who interrupted with a pre-emptive denial that he was a co-conspirator.

Had nothing to do with my campaign. You know, all of the hackers, and all of the — everybody that you see, nothing to do with my campaign. If the hackers — a lot of them probably like Hillary Clinton better than me. Now they do, now they do. You know, they go after some hacker in Russia they say oh, that had nothing to do with my campaign.

When the reporter asked if Trump had any "warning" for Russia over its continued attempts to undermine American democracy, Trump retorted, "I’ve already said it."

In reality, Trump has gone out of his way to protect the Putin regime. He has suggested that the massive espionage and propaganda campaign he benefited from was the work of China, "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds," or—inexplicably—the Democratic Party itself. He publicly sided with Putin against his own intelligence services. He even endorsed Putin's offer to let Russian agents "assist" the U.S. with its cyber defense, which led a Republican senator to say, "It's not the dumbest idea I've ever heard, but it's pretty close."

Recently, Trump has taken to sarcastically asking why he would enlist Russia's help to win an election. Earlier this week he told the Associated Press, "To think that I would be even thinking about using Russia to help me win Idaho, we're using Russia to help me win the great state of Iowa or anywhere else is the most preposterous, embarrassing thing."

During the campaign, Trump explicitly asked for Russia's help on live television. Their cyberattacks on the DNC started later that day.

How is this a bad thing?

  • Defending the country and the Constitution is the single most important job that the president has.
  • A president who wasn't guilty or frightened because he owed his presidency to a hostile foreign power's attack on democracy probably wouldn't react so defensively every time the subject came up.