At Wednesday’s Commander-in-Chief forum on NBC, Donald Trump once again expressed his admiration Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He told anchor Matt Lauer that “He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.” Trump’s view seems to be rooted in his innate narcissism. He also told Lauer that “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”
True to form, Trump appeared on RT (the state-owned Russian Television network) praising his pal Vladimir Putin. He was interviewed by Larry King on RT’s PolitiKing. Among the subjects discussed were Trump’s contempt for the American media that he said was “unbelievably dishonest.” As opposed to Russian media? Consequently, he goes on Russian TV to bad mouth the President and his opponent Hillary Clinton.
The most striking part of the interview was the segment where King asked Trump about the charges that the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other attempts to disrupt U.S. elections. Here is how Trump responded:
King: Putin recently said that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was a public service. Do you agree?
Trump: I don’t have any opinion on it. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know who hacked. I’m not sure who, I mean, you tell me. Who hacked? Who did the hacking? But I have absolutely no opinion on that. I don’t know. I haven’t heard that statement.
First of all, Trump is flat-out lying about not having heard about this. He previously addressed the subject at his rallies and press conferences. In one instance he acknowledged reports of Russian involvement and then literally asked them to do more of it. He promised that they would be rewarded if they hacked into Clinton’s emails. What’s more, Trump himself has been implicated in Russia’s hacking operations.
More to the point, Trump’s insistence that he has no opinion about a foreign adversary illegally breaching the security of American political organizations is astonishing. He repeatedly expressed his skepticism about who did the hacking. Even though U.S. intelligence has concluded that it was most likely the Russians. That is giving cover to Putin and his KGB hacking squad. And King didn’t ask him who hacked. He asked if he agreed with Putin that the hacking was a public service. So Trump has no opinion about Russians stealing private communications from Americans and publishing them.
But that wasn’t all. The interview continued with Trump essentially forgiving the Russians for trying to interfere with American elections:
King: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies reportedly are investigating whether Russia launched a covert operation to disrupt the 2016 election. What do you make of that?
Trump: I don’t know. I mean I’ve been reading about it. I think it’s probably unlikely. I think maybe, maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely. But you know, who knows? I hope that if they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.
Again, Trump is pleading ignorance (which, for him, is a believable excuse). But his effort to absolve Putin & Company is further evidence of his affinity for the Russians. He doesn’t explain how he arrived at the conclusion that “it’s probably unlikely.” However, to do so he is taking the side of the Russians against American intelligence agencies. Even worse, he attempts to shift the blame to Democrats without any foundation whatsoever. Someone should ask Trump why Democrats would hack themselves.
Subsequent to Trump’s RT interview, his spokesman sought to gloss over his comments telling CNN that he thought he was doing a podcast for Larry King and that “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” So what? While making these unpatriotic comments on RT is rich with irony, they would be just as abhorrent on King’s podcast. And how could Trump and his handlers not know where this interview would be aired? That’s just another indication of his incompetence and unfitness for the presidency. [UPDATE: Contradicting the Trump camp, the producers of Larry King’s program released a statement saying that “Mr. Trump was always booked on ‘PoliticKING with Larry King'”]
On a tangential matter, the interview ended abruptly when King brought up the subject of immigration:
King: Let’s get something clear, cause I’ve known you a long time. On this immigration, what are your feelings about Mexican immigrants. What are your gut – what do feel about this?
King: Don are you there? … I don’t know what happened there. We did not lose the connection.
Curious. Let’s just leave that to stand on its own. Although the Democrats probably had something to do with it.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
[Note: Trump on hacking starts about 8:50]