Many have suspected Tuesday’s rally was meant to obfuscate fresh Russia data, which came out right on schedule Wednesday. Special Investigator Robert Mueller announced that Congressional investigators have dug up a highly damaging email from during the election, from a top Trump aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now Trump’s deputy chief of staff. It referenced a previously unreported effort to set a meeting up last year, between Trump campaign officials and Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
The Russia investigation has been seemingly quiet in recent weeks, but it’s clear it’s still weighing on Trump. Politico reports that earlier this month, Trump made angry calls to two Republican senators on the subject.
In the first, Trump was bemoaning to Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker the fact of the bipartisan Russia sanctions bill being, in his view, unconstitutional. Apparently he felt it would hurt his presidency. Trump did eventually sign the bill, albeit reluctantly.
Second, during a call with Senator Thom Tillis on August 7, Trump complained bitterly of a bill Tillis is working on with Democratic senator Chris Coons. which is intended to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller should Trump attempt to fire him.
The Russians clearly did all they could to help Trump, and brazenly boasted of expecting quid pro quo. Putin suggested the hacking of our 2016 election “Might” have been performed by some dedicated Russian patriots.
This is a problem that others also have experienced with Russia. In France, the recent election that left Emmanuel Macron in charge was also hacked. And in broad daylight, Putin exploited loopholes in French campaign finance laws to give millions to the campaign of Marine Le Pen, whose father Jean-Marie was a notorious fascist at a time when that was a political death-knell. Every bank in France refused to loan them money because of their repugnant and disproven racial theories. So they got 9 million from Putin, and then asked him later for more. On television, no less.
A number of different questions need to be confirmed before we get near the bottom of this thing. What efforts has the Trump campaign or administration made that would benefit Russia? How much direct influence from Russia was there, for moves such as undercutting those parts of the GOP platform that supported things like stricter economic sanctions and sending arms to beleaguered and burglarized Ukraine?
We know that the Russians openly threatened Trump with the releasing of more information of meetings with Putin, if he did not give back the spy houses Obama took. Sergey Kislyak said at the time, “Maybe they even went to the toilet together.”
In any event, one thing, at least, is clear. The Russians came very close to upending us altogether this last year, by way of their influence on Trump. It seems clear our system of checks and balances is insufficiently robust to even let alone prevent, conflicts of interest on the part of the president. Additional measures, such as legislation forcing candidates to show their taxes and reveal their business interests, must be developed.
American democracy is the result of a process of refinement that has gone on since before the dawn of history, and that refining is still going on even now. It’s the sane and decent way forward in a world that is increasingly filled with dead ends. We have always protected it from pollution caused by alien radicalism. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that neither the swastika nor the sickle will ever mean as much here, as even a Green Bay Packers logo, although it should be conceded that they may reach the level of the Chicago Bears. In either case, the good old stars and bars will continue to suit us fine. America never stopped being great.
The keeping of foreign powers at a safe distance from our electoral process is one of the most crucial tasks facing the millennial generation. Like it or not, cyber-warfare and disinformation from hostile entities is a part of reality now. Our votes will only continue to matter if we take the time and effort to make sure they do, and that means making sure we don’t get drowned out by the opposition. #RiseAndOrganize.