It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.
In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.
His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:
“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”
Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?
In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:
“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”
Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.
Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.
Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:
“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”
Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:
Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”
It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.