There’s something that has been keeping me up at night thinking. Let me walk you through it.
Donald Trump has been claiming over and over that reports of Russian interference in the presidential election are “fake news”. He, and other members of his staff have also been claiming that, even if the Russians did interfere, there is no evidence of collusion between the Russians and himself, his campaign (before the election), or his staff (after he became president).
Friday, the Washington Post published a report that not only was US Intelligence certain that the Russians were actively working to damage Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the election, but that the CIA had proof. Obama was informed last August, and he struggled to find a way to respond. If Obama reacted too strongly it would create mass chaos — the Republicans were already screaming that the election was rigged for Hillary Clinton. Announcing that the election had indeed been compromised could very well help the Russians even more by destroying faith in the US elections and completely destabilizing American democracy.
Obama ended up expelling 35 diplomats and closed two Russian compounds. He also authorized the planting of cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, which was still being done as Obama was leaving office. That left it up to Trump to decide whether to use these weapons to punish Putin and Russia for what WaPo describes as “the crime of the century” — hacking an American presidential election. Of course, Trump never did use those weapons.
Now here’s the part that got me thinking — Trump’s response to the news:
What’s really curious about this is that Donald Trump, who repeatedly denied the existence of Russian meddling, is saying that it is “just out” that Russia meddled in the US elections, but that Obama “did nothing about it”.
So, is Russian meddling “fake news”? Either it is or it isn’t. If it is, then why would Obama need to do anything about it? If it is real, then why the hell did president Trump keep telling us it was fake news?
How can Trump claim that he just found out about the Russian meddling? He is the president, and the CIA (with their evidence and proof) reports to him. There is no way he didn’t know this.
Even far, far worse, within days after Trump became president, he started trying to remove the sanctions that Obama had placed on the Russians and reopen their compounds. In his tweet, Trump complains that Obama did nothing, but while it is debatable whether he did the right thing or enough, he didn’t do “nothing”, and yet Trump, who absolutely must have known about the Russian meddling, was trying to undo the sanctions. So the sanctions must have been something, otherwise, why would Trump try to undo them?
It became even more curious when Congress started working on a bill to impose stronger sanctions against Russia, which included a clause that prohibited Trump from removing the sanctions without the approval of Congress. Did they know something about Trump that we didn’t know? And Trump is threatening to veto that bill.
Why did members of Trump’s administration have so many contacts with Russians (and then lied about them). And why did Trump’s son-in-law and advisor try to set up a direct channel to Russia, so he could talk to them without the CIA listening in?
Instead, everyone is debating whether Obama made the proper response to the Russian meddling! Why? Why aren’t we wondering why Trump tried to help the Russians, even after he knew that they had meddled in our election? Even readers of this blog have been taken in by this con.
I keep trying to think of a fallacy in this line of reasoning, but I can’t come up with one. The bottom line: we elected a con man, who almost certainly committed high treason. And yet somehow we are blaming Obama.
UPDATE: The White House is doubling down on their attacks on Obama, asking “Why didn’t Obama stop us from colluding with Russia?”. Lesson? Never do anything nice for Trump, because he will fuck you over for it.
The White House also pointed out that Trump created a commission on election integrity (headed by VP Pence), which of course is spending their time investigating voter fraud (which doesn’t actually exist) and registration fraud (which wouldn’t matter even if it did exist) instead of actual foreign hacking (which illegally helped Trump win).
Also published on Medium.