Donald Trump’s Dereliction Of Presidential Duty Is Self-Evident

Donald Trump's dereliction of duty in response to clear evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election is a staggering and flagrant dereliction of the duties he agreed to take on when he took the Oath Of Office more than a year ago.

With Friday’s announcement of the indictment of thirteen Russians using social media and other means to attempt to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election, we finally are able to attach names and faces to something that has been alleged or well over a year now. Notwithstanding that fact, President Trump continues to attempt to distance himself from the reality that a foreign power attempted to interfere with an American election and spent much of the President’s Day weekend trying to push the false claim that he had never denied the reality of Russian interference and that equally false claim that the indictment actually exonerates him. What we’re not hearing from the President, though, is any sign that he is at all inclined to lead the country in response to what the Russian government quite obviously sought to do:

WASHINGTON — After more than a dozen Russians and three companies were indicted on Friday for interfering in the 2016 elections, President Trump’s first reaction was to claim personal vindication: “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!” he wrote on Twitter.

He voiced no concern that a foreign power had been trying for nearly four years to upend American democracy, much less resolve to stop it from continuing to do so this year.

The indictment secured by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, underscored the broader conclusion by the American government that Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda, a conclusion shared by the president’s own senior advisers and intelligence chiefs. But it is a war being fought on the American side without a commander in chief.

In 13 months in office, Mr. Trump has made little if any public effort to rally the nation to confront Moscow for its intrusion or to defend democratic institutions against continued disruption. His administration has at times called out Russia or taken action, and even Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, speaking in Germany on Saturday, called evidence of Russian meddling “incontrovertible.” But the administration has been left to respond without the president’s leadership.

“It is astonishing to me that a president of the United States would take this so lightly or see it purely through the prism of domestic partisanship,” said Daniel Fried, a career diplomat under presidents of both parties who is now at the Atlantic Council. He said it invariably raised questions about whether Mr. Trump had something to hide. “I have no evidence that he’s deliberately pulling his punches because he has to, but I can’t dismiss it. No president has raised those kinds of questions.”

Rather than condemn Russia for its actions, Mr. Trump in the past has said he accepts the denial offered by President Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Trump has not imposed new sanctions called for in a law passed by Congress last year to retaliate for the attack on America’s political system, or teamed up with European leaders to counter a common threat. He has not led a concerted effort to harden election systems in the United States with midterm congressional elections on the horizon, or pressed lawmakers to pass legislation addressing the situation.

Michael A. McFaul, an ambassador to Moscow under President Barack Obama, called Mr. Trump’s reaction to the indictments “shockingly weak” and said he should instead have criticized Mr. Putin for violating American sovereignty or even announced plans to punish Moscow.

“Instead, he just focused on his own campaign,” Mr. McFaul said. “America was attacked, and our commander in chief said nothing in response. He looks weak, not only in Moscow but throughout the world.”

The president’s silence has not necessarily stopped lower levels of his administration from responding to Russian actions, sometimes going further than Mr. Obama, who was also criticized for not doing enough to counter Moscow’s threat. The Trump administration has decided to send weapons to Ukraine so it can defend itself against Russian intervention, and recently imposed sanctions on more human rights violators. After Russia ordered the American Embassy in Moscow to shed most of its staff, the administration responded by ordering Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and diplomatic annexes in New York and Washington.

Likewise, in just the past few days, the Trump administration formally blamed Russia for an expansive cyberattack last year called NotPetya and threatened unspecified “international consequences.” The nation’s intelligence agency directors, including those appointed by Mr. Trump, unanimously warned in congressional testimony that Russia was already meddling in this year’s midterm elections.

Mr. Trump’s own aides readily acknowledge the reality that he does not. Besides describing Russian interference as undeniable on Saturday, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, said Mr. Mueller’s charges made clear that Russia had been engaged in a “sophisticated form of espionage” against the United States.

“With the F.B.I. indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain,” he said.

Late Saturday night, however, Mr. Trump, contradicted General McMaster, writing on Twitter shortly before midnight that his aide “forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia” and the Democrats.

In a second late-night tweet, Mr. Trump said that the F.B.I. missed warning signs of the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida school on Wednesday because it was too focused on the Russia investigation. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter,” he wrote. “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

In a second late-night tweet, Mr. Trump said that the F.B.I. missed warning signs of the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida school on Wednesday because it was too focused on the Russia investigation. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter,” he wrote. “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

Writing about Trump’s apparent unwillingness to lead a fight against Russian election interference, David Frum says this:

The new question is this: What has been—what will be—done to protect American democracy from such attacks in the future? The Russian attack in 2016 worked, yielding dividends beyond Vladimir Putin’s wildest hopes. The Russians hoped to cast a shadow over the Clinton presidency. Instead, they outright elected their preferred candidate. Americans once thought it was a big deal that Alger Hiss rose to serve as acting temporary secretary general of the United Nations. This time, a Russian-backed  individual was installed in the Oval Office.

From that position of power, Trump has systematically attempted to shut down investigations of the foreign-espionage operation that operated on his behalf. He fired the director of the FBI to shut it down. His White House coordinated with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to misdirect the investigation. He mobilized the speaker of the House to thwart bipartisan investigations under broadly respected leadership. He has inspired, supported, and joined a national propaganda campaign against the Mueller investigation.

And all the while, Trump has done nothing—literally nothing—to harden the nation’s voting systems against follow-on Russian operations. On Sunday, he publicly repudiated his own national-security adviser for acknowledging at the Munich Security Conference the most incontrovertible basics of what happened in 2016.

It’s worth thinking about what a patriotic president would have done in Trump’s situation. He would be leading the investigation himself. He would be scouring his own campaign—doing everything in his power to reassure the country that whatever the Russians may or may not have done, his government owed Putin nothing. He would have imposed penalties on Russia for their outrageous acts—rather than protecting Russia from penalties voted by Congress. Above all, he would be leading the demand for changes to election laws and practices, including holding Facebook to account for its negligence.

At every turn, Trump has failed to do what a patriotic president would do—failed to put the national interest first. He has left the 2018 elections as vulnerable as the 2016 elections to Russian intervention on his behalf.

The president’s malignant narcissism surely explains much of this passivity. He cannot endure the thought that he owes the presidency to anything other than his own magnificence. “But wasn’t I a great candidate?” he tweeted plaintively at 7:43 a.m on Sunday morning.

Max Boot makes a similar point in The Washington Post:

Imagine if, after 9/11, the president had said that the World Trade Center and Pentagon could have been attacked by “China” or “lots of other people.” Imagine if he had dismissed claims of al-Qaeda’s responsibility as a “hoax” and said that he “really” believed Osama bin Laden’s denials. Imagine if he saw the attack primarily as a political embarrassment to be minimized rather than as a national security threat to be combated. Imagine if he threatened to fire the investigators trying to find out what happened.

Imagine, moreover, if the president refused to appoint a commission to study how to safeguard America. Imagine if, as a result, we did not harden cockpit doors. If we did not create a Transportation Security Administration and a Department of Homeland Security. If we did not lower barriers between law enforcement and intelligence. If we did not pass a USA Patriot Act to enhance surveillance. And if we did not take myriad other steps to prevent another 9/11.

That’s roughly where we stand after the second-worst foreign attack on America in the past two decades. The Russian subversion of the 2016 election did not, to be sure, kill nearly 3,000 people. But its longer-term impact may be even more corrosive by undermining faith in our democracy.

(…)

[I[n a disturbing weekend tweetstorm, President Trump attacked the FBIDemocrats, even McMaster — anyone but the Russians. He sought to minimize the impact of the Kremlin’s intrusion, tweeting: “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” Actually, there’s plenty of evidence of collusion, including the infamous June 2016 meeting that Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager held with Russian representatives who promised to “incriminate” Hillary Clinton.

There is also considerable evidence that the Kremlin impacted the election, which was decided by fewer than 80,000 votes in three states. Trump must have thought the Russian operation was significant because he mentioned its handiwork — the release of Democratic Party documents via WikiLeaks — 137 times in the final month of the campaign. On top of that, Russian propaganda reached at least 126 million Americans via Facebook alone.

The onslaught did not end in 2016. Russian trolls have continued promoting hashtags such as #ReleaseTheMemo to sow dissension and division. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats just testified that Russia “views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.” Yet Trump has never convened a Cabinet meeting to address this threat and has resisted implementing sanctions passed by Congress.

The president’s obstructionism makes it impossible to appoint an 11/8 Commission to study this cyber-assault and to recommend responses. Various agencies, such as the FBI, are trying to combat the Russians on their own, but there is no coordinated response.

Washington Post  columnist Ruth Marcus, meanwhile, calls it a ‘staggering dereliction of duty’ on Trump’s part:

[T]here is no depth to which Trump will not sink in defense of the only thing he holds dear: himself. And so, the nation witnessed a tweet in which the president, a leader to whom the country once looked for healing in times of national tragedy, instead used innocent victims, high school children mowed down in their own school, to make his bogus, self-interested point: “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Did he? Did he really use dead children to attack an investigation into his campaign and his conduct in office? Yes, he did. This is a person devoid of empathy. He can experience the world only through the prism of his own ego. He can read the requisite words from a teleprompter — “To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain” — but he is incapable of feeling them. No one who imagines the shattered heart of a grieving parent could have written that despicable tweet.

Trump’s response can largely be explained, I think, by the fact that his main obsession has been with using whatever news headlines bring forward regarding the investigation to argue that none of it implicate him directly in either collusion or of having played a direct role in the efforts by Trump campaign officials to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and others to the point that they were taking meetings with people with known connections to the Russian government to get it. While it’s true that we have no direct proof that Trump knew what was going on, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that he might have known, nor does it preclude or even explain the extent which he has sought to undermine the Russia investigations by Bob Mueller, and by two separate Congressional committees. In addition to being primarily concerned with pushing back against the idea of any Trump campaign collusion with Russia, it’s also clear that the President is primarily, indeed obsessively, concerned with the idea that any acknowledgment of the seriousness of the problem would undermine the reality of his election victory and, consequentially, his legitimacy.  This is likely why he has ignored the clear evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, the evidence that many of the tactics they utilized toward that effort have continued to this day in connection with everything from release of the Nunes memo to the gun control debate in the wake of last week’s Florida school shooting, and the evidence that they intend to mount a similar interference effort in the 2018 campaign. Any effort or desire to protect the integrity of the election system, or the nation, in the midst of what clearly seems like an attack on the democratic electoral process by an adversarial country is taking a back seat to all of these concerns in Trump’s mind, and as a result the nation remains as vulnerable to such interference as it was in 2014 when the conspiracy set forth in last Friday’s indictments began.

Further evidence of Trump’s clear dereliction of what clearly seems to fall within his duties as President can be seen in the extent to which he has sought to undermine the various Russia investigations over the course of the past year. In February of last year, for example, The President asked James Comey, who was still F.B.I. Director at the time, to end the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Two months later, Trump fired Comey just days after Comey testimony before a Senate committee during which he publicly confirmed that the Bureau was investigating both the allegations of Russian interference in the election and potential contacts between Trump campaign officials and people connected to the Russian government. While the Administration initially claimed Comey was fired due to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server and her handling of classified information. It only took a few days, though or the President to admit in a televised interview that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. In addition to all this, the President also pressured the heads of the intelligence agencies  to bring the investigation to an  end, implored Senators to end the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of the matter, and participated in the drafting of a deliberately misleading White House statement regarding his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016. Finally and most recently, there have been rumors that Trump has at least considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a means of undermining the investigation. In addition to all this, of course, there is Trump’s long history of using his Twitter account and public speeches and statements to attempt to label the allegations of Russian interference as “Fake News,” a campaign that obsequious media organizations such as Fox News Channel and pro-Trump pundits who appear regularly on other news networks have eagerly and enthusiastically parroted.

As Frum, Boot, and Marcus note in their respective columns, Trump’s failure to acknowledge the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and his ongoing failure to do anything about the prospect of it happening in the future, are a clear dereliction of his duty as President of the United States. While one could argue that this kind of interference doesn’t rise to the level of something as serious as the September 11th attacks or cyber-warfare aimed at disrupting critical infrastructure, it’s not very far removed. For one thing, the Russian operation was clearly aimed at exploiting the hyperpartisanship that has become an all too common part of America’s political system and using it to create chaos and confusion. In that sense, the operation was a remarkable success that they will obviously try to repeat again in the future. Failing to defend the nation from such an attack is clearly a dereliction of one of the obligations that Trump took on when he took the oath of office on January 20th, 2017. Additionally, failure to respond to attacks such as these sends a signal to Russia and other world powers about the resolve that this Administration has regarding threats from abroad that risks bringing on more serious attacks on American interests in the future. Finally, failure to act in the face of all the evidence just lends more credence to the hypothesis that he doesn’t really care if the Russians interfere in our elections or even that there’s some reason why, of all the people and nations he’s attacked since he became a candidate for President, both Vladimir Putin and Russia have been curiously missing from that list. Why that is the case I’ll leave for the reader to decide on their own.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Intelligence, National Security, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    So self-evident, I’m not sure what more can really be said about Trump.

    What I want to see is every GOP congressman or senator, especially the leaders, asked what they have done to protect against the attacks. And asked again, and again and again until they can’t evade and duck.




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  2. Kathy says:

    How is this obstinate refusal to defend the country not an impeachable offense?




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  3. Why that is the case I’ll leave for the reader to decide on their own.

    Well played.




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  4. SKI says:

    @Kathy: It could be.

    But it requires the House to actually vote to impeach and the Senate to convict so…




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  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:

    How is this obstinate refusal to defend the country not an impeachable offense?

    Because the Republicans in Congress are supine, they are guilty of the very same dereliction.




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  6. MBunge says:

    1. Just when I think anti-Trump hysteria can’t get any worse, Max Boot comes along and equates some Russian Facebook posts to 9/11.

    2. If you wanted Trump to take this Russia stuff, puny as it is, more seriously, maybe you shouldn’t have weaponized it to not only undermine the legitimacy of his election but with the explicit goal of removing him from office through non-electoral means.

    3. Is it just a coincidence that basically none of the anti-Trumpers braying on about Russia do anything to put the matter in any sort of meaningful context? You know, like comparing the amount of Russian activity to the money and manpower poured into the election by the Trump and Clinton campaigns. Wouldn’t that promote a substantive discussion of the level of threat and the appropriate response as opposed to paranoid fear-mongering?

    4. It is nice to see the entertainment value of this silliness increase. We’ve now officially gone from “TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED BECAUSE HE’S PUTIN’S SLEEPER AGENT” to “TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED BECAUSE HE’S NOT BOMBING RUSSIA OVER FACEBOOK POSTS.” I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    Mike




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  7. JKB says:

    “REMEMBER THE MAINE, TO HELL WITH SPAIN!”

    Let’s be clear about your complaint. You have no idea what is actually happening between the US and Russia. Your complaint is that Trump is refusing to let the hostile American media and those opposed to him being President drive US foreign policy by means of yellow journalism.

    Let us have another war ginned up by the press?

    And again, this Russian interference happened under an administration that patently refused to see Russia as an adversary. To the extent that the head of that administration whispered a message to be carried to Putin about his flexibility after he had dealt with those pesky American voters. Obviously, a collusion to do things that the American voters would not like if they knew about it when they voted.




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  8. Kathy says:

    It would be useful to find out what other countries have had their elections meddled with. As I understand there was some of it in France’s election. But how about the Brexit vote or the subsequent election Britain had? There have been signs Russia is meddling in mexico’s general election to be held in July 1st this year. No small matter when we have a competent version of Trump, Lopez Obrador, who’s been getting more Trumpian since 2016.

    By Trump-like I mean he steps on norms and doesn’t give a damn who or what gets hurt or broken, so long as he wins. But he is experienced, he has a following, he was mayor of Mexico City for 6 years (and didn’t do badly, actually). In a country with a young democracy still being refined, that’s dangerous.

    This would be a good time to invoke the Monroe doctrine, and let the Russians know there will be very adverse consequences if they meddle in Mexico’s election, in addition to all the other things the US should be doing.

    But we all know that’s not going to happen.




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  9. dmichael says:

    It is not a criticism of this post to answer “So what?” I completely agree with its conclusion. However, notwithstanding the conversions of David “Axis of Evil” Frum, Max “We Could Have Won Vietnam” Boot and Ruth “Scourge of Potty Mouths” Marcus, it will mean nothing unless and until the Mueller investigation reaches The Current Occupant and the Democrats gain a majority in at least one of the branches of Congress. The criticisms of Trump from the conservative “intelligentsia” will have little or no effect on the voting public.




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  10. gVOR08 says:

    @SKI:

    What I want to see is every GOP congressman or senator, especially the leaders, asked what they have done to protect against the attacks.

    We know what McConnell did. In September, before the election, he was briefed and asked to help counter the interference.

    McConnell reportedly expressed serious reservations about the intelligence and threatened to politicize the agency’s findings if they were made public.

    That is treason, at least in a vernacular sense, if not legally.




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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Now if only Frum, Boot, and Marcus will note in their respective columns, the Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate continuing failure to acknowledge the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and to actually do something about it. They passes a sanctions bill by veto proof majorities but trump refuses to enforce it. They could file suits, they could hold certain programs trump likes hostage (until you clean up your room, there will be NO military parades for you, big boy!!!) they could make it politically damaging for trump to continue on his present course, but they don’t have the balls to tell their base the truth.




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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: The Maine was an accidental explosion. Are you saying the interference in the indictment occurred somehow by accident?




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  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    @JKB:
    Hey, there’s Bunge and JKB defending Russian attacks on our country.
    Of course they also defend sexual assault and child molestation, so none of us should be surprised.




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  14. MarkedMan says:

    The fact that Trump is a traitor acting on behalf of a foreign enemy is horrific, but even more so is the Republicans assisting him. The founders instituted three branches of government in order to ensure oversight. The Republican Party has driven out all decent courageous members and are now little more than bystanders watching our country burn while they fellate their billionaire hobbyist sponsors.




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  15. SKI says:

    @Kathy:

    But how about the Brexit vote or the subsequent election Britain had?

    Pretty sure there is evidence of their involvement….

    There is an ongoing UK parliamentary investigation into fake news and misinformation led by MP Damian Collins. Most recently, they were going to hold a somewhat historic public session here in DC at the British Embassy (to accommodate some of the tech industry they are having testify) but the Ambassador asked them to find a different venue because of fears of offending Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/18/mps-fake-news-inquiry-barred-uk-washington-embassy-donald-trump




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  16. MarkedMan says:

    I accidentally read MBunge’s comment and his all caps rant re: shifting goalposts got me curious. Is there anyone here who s familiar enough with the Fox News Fantasy World that they can tell whether or not that is the new lie they are perpetrating? i.e. that somehow decent Americans listened to the recent revelations and somehow reached the conclusion that Trump is not acting as an instrument of Russia?




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  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    paranoid fear-mongering?

    So you are saying that the directors of each intelligence agency is guilty of paranoid fear-mongering?
    Unfortunately for you Trumpaloons, they are not porn stars who can be paid off to keep quiet about textbook generic sex.




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  18. Mister Bluster says:

    Let us have another war ginned up by the press?

    That would be your Christian conservative media.

    Right-wing commentator Josh Bernstein appeared on a recent episode of Gordon Klingenschmitt’s “Pray In Jesus Name” program, where he urged President Trump to start a war with North Korea this fall in order to prevent Democrats from gaining control of Congress in the midterm elections.
    “So, who knows? Maybe we would need to do that and take out this regime, because, God forbid, we have a change in Congress,” Bernstein said. “I think there is a lot of danger in the midterms, so we do need to do something.”




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  19. Franklin says:

    @MBunge: It appears that you are trying to minimize Russia’s influence to be merely a few Facebook posts. It doesn’t seem you are well-versed on what methods were used, and furthermore don’t believe that the methods were effective. It sure must seem strange to you that people put so much time, effort, and money into campaigns and other types of propaganda if it doesn’t actually do anything. Perhaps you also don’t believe in marketing?




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  20. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: It must be exhausting to be a Trump supporter. Every freaking day he does or says something stupid, disgusting or treasonous and there you are lying, shilling and covering for him.

    Take a break sweetie, you have earned it.




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  21. Terrye Cravens says:

    @JKB: Obama brought sanctions against Russia…Trump refused to enforce sanctions against Russia…see a difference? Trump has been President for 13 long and sad months and to date he has done nothing but work over time to cover his own ass.




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  22. JohnMcC says:

    @MBunge: Wow, Dude! If you actually think any of that stuff is real, you are so screwed. Literally nothing you wrote is truthful in describing anything I run into on the political web/eyes-left! Someone has surrounded you with funhouse mirrors and given you a keyboard, my man.




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  23. JohnMcC says:

    Just dropped by to agree, dereliction…self-evident… and read comments. Not so sure reading was best idea ever.




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  24. teve tory says:

    I accidentally read MBunge’s comment

    For the last 12 years I’ve helped manage a site where scientists and science-oriented people hang out and chat about biology, and make fun of creationists, especially the idiots at Uncommon Descent, one of the last remaining “Intelligent Design” blogs. One thing I learned many years ago is, it’s useful and productive to have discussions with intelligent people you disagree with. Sometimes those discussions are downright enlightening. But there are a small percentage of really ignorant people who are best ignored. Life’s too short. I come here because the comment sections are typically full of interesting, intelligent people with good insights. Still, the best way for me to use this forum is to just simply ignore about five of the commenters here. I’m sure you can guess which ones.




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  25. JKB says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    Well, US foreign policy is solely in the purview of the President. What might have changed? Could sanctions, which so many here argue are infective when aimed at Iran, etc., are less important than working with Russia in the common goal of containing North Korean nuclear weapons, something Obama markedly failed to do just like his two predecessors.




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  26. MBunge says:

    For a little context on “Russiagate,” try this. Yes, I know most of you won’t even bother but what else can I do?

    https://www.redstate.com/diary/Bonchie/2018/02/20/yes-russia-tried-interfere-election…no-not-like-pearl-harbor/

    Mike




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  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @MBunge: …but what else can I do?

    Suggestions anyone?




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  28. gVOR08 says:

    It’s actually doubly damning. Trump is doing nothing about Russian interference and failing to implement sanctions. Anyone else in his position would be distancing himself from Russia and Putin as fast as he could and trying to double down on sanctions. Why can’t Trump do the obvious? What the h***is he hiding?




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  29. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    Yes, I know most of you won’t even bother but what else can I do?

    How about reading something other than far-right propaganda rationalizing Russian propaganda.
    Do you seriously expect an opinion piece from Redstate to make anyone go, hmmmm?
    Curious Bunge…how many phony Russian Facebook posts did you like, or re-post, or link to? What? You don’t know? Imagine that.




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  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    From the propaganda you linked to:

    Even today these people can’t muster up a bad word to say about the former President who was actually responsible for letting Russia do as it pleased during the 2016 election.

    The truth:

    In September 2016, the Obama administration gathered leaders of both parties for a secret intelligence briefing on Russia’s operation to influence the election. Securing bipartisan agreement seemed especially crucial. Obama’s team “worried that doing so unilaterally and without bipartisan congressional backing just weeks before the election would make Obama vulnerable to charges that he was using intelligence for political purposes.” But Republican leaders, especially Mitch McConnell, refused. McConnell, the Post reports, “raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

    See how things seem different when you know the entire story and not just what right wing propagandists tell you?




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  31. al-Ameda says:

    @Angusry:

    Trump’s idiot daughter marries a scummy Jewish criminal family …. Trump is beholden to the Jews & is butt-buddies with Netanyahu

    Reminder to self: anti-semitism is timeless




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  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Angusry: @MBunge: @JKB:

    Was that you JKB and Bung that brought the Nazi to the party?




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  33. Mister Bluster says:

    @al-Ameda:..anti-semitism is timeless

    Since Angry Angusry’s first comment includes seven links it had to go through the moderator.
    Those clearly anti-semitic remarks are so timeless that they apparently do not violate OTB’s stated policy against the use of ethnic slurs.




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  34. Kathy says:

    @SKI: Afraid to offend Trump? Most people are eager to do so. Like this:

    Trump goes to the doctor complaining of a strong pain in the abdomen.

    The doctor first puts a stethoscope on Trump’s chest and comments “Your heartbeat is normal.”

    Trump says “Great! I’m not sick!! I’m the healthiest man who’s ever lived!”

    “Settle down, Mr Trump,” says the doctor. “I’m not done with the diagnosis. I’ve barely begun.”

    “FAKE NEWS!! You found no evidence of disease! Admit it!! Did you know I won the greatest electoral college victory of all time!! WITCH HUNT!! you voted for Killary, didn’t you!!! HUH!!! Tell me who you voted for!!” And Trump storms out.

    Two days later he dies of complications from a burst appendix.




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  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    US foreign policy is solely in the purview of the President.

    Bullshit. Try reading the constitution. Remember Iran/Contra where Reagan broke laws in an effort to enact his foreign policy? One that Congress had forbidden him to implement?

    @MBunge:

    Yes, I know most of you won’t even bother but what else can I do?

    Ummmmm…. Short of actually learning facts and critical thinking all I can suggest is…. Suicide?




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  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    So I would like to return to the time when I could disagree with the likes of David Frum, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin. When that time returns, America will be in a safer place.




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  37. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Uhhh… yeah. Don’t see that happenin’ soon.




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  38. TM01 says:

    Hmm.

    Trump perhaps could be more forceful against Russia, but expanding our oil and gas extraction certainly hurts Russia, and we apparently have something else coming up as well, with details to be made known later.

    Meanwhile, Obama assured us all that it is impossible for anyone to actually meddle with and affect an election.

    And, He abandoned Eastern Europe and their missile defense (which GWB had promised). He did pretty much nothing about Ukraine and Crimea. That Red Line in Syria? Nothing there. He, along with everyone else on the left, ridiculed Romney for calling Russia our foe.

    After eight years of weakness from Obama, did anyone really expect Putin to just sit back and do nothing?

    Could Trump do more actively against Russia? I guess. But so far we just have 13 people accused of fraud, not actually interfering in our elections (which is actually a crime).




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  39. Darryl’s other brother Daryl says:

    @TM01:

    Obama assured us all that it is impossible for anyone to actually meddle with and affect an election.

    If you insist on taking quotes out of context, because your Dear Leader did…then you expose yourself as a simple-minded dupe.




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