A Thousand Bubbles
Boil the Pot
F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia
By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos Jan. 11, 2019
Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry.
Here are 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset
Max Boot Columnist January 13, 2019
— Trump has a long financial history with Russia.
"Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," said Donald Jr. in 2008. "We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia," boasted Eric Trump in 2014.
— The Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help elect Trump president.
— Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on July 27, 2016
— There were, according to the Moscow Project, “101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives,” and “the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.”
— The Trump campaign was full of individuals with suspiciously close links to Moscow, such as Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Michael Flynn.
— Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign for free and was heavily in debt to a Russian oligarch, now admits to offering his Russian business partner with links to Russian intelligence, polling data that could have been used to target the Russian social media campaign on behalf of Trump.
— Trump associate Roger Stone, who was in contact with Russian conduit WikiLeaks, reportedly knew in advance that the Russians had hacked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
— Once in office, Trump fired Comey to stop the investigation of the “Russia thing” — and then bragged about having done so to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister while also sharing with them top-secret information.
— Trump has refused to consistently acknowledge that Russia interfered in the U.S. election or mobilize a government-wide effort to stop future interference.
— Trump attacks and undermines the Justice Department and the FBI (“a cancer in our country”) — two institutions that stand on the front lines of combating Russian espionage.
—Trump attacks and undermines the European Union and NATO — he has suggested that France should leave the E.U. and that the United States should leave NATO
— Trump supports populist, pro-Russian leaders in Europe, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary and Marine Le Pen in France, just as the Russians do.
— Trump has praised Putin (“a strong leader”) while trashing leaders of allied nations.
— Trump was utterly supine in his meetings with Putin, principally in Hamburg and Helsinki.
Even more suspicious, according to a Post article on Saturday, Trump “has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with . . . Putin.
— Trump defends the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and repeats other pro-Russian talking points.
— Trump is pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, handing that country to Russia and its ally Iran.
— Trump has effectively done nothing in response to the Russian attack on Ukrainian ships in international waters, thereby encouraging greater Russian aggression.
— Trump is sowing chaos in the government, most recently with a record-breaking partial government shutdown.
The Threat in the White House
By Susan E. Rice, former national security adviser
Nothing illustrates this dangerous dysfunction more starkly than President Trump’s reckless, unilateral decisions to announce the sudden withdrawal of all 2,000 United States troops from Syria and to remove 7,000 from Afghanistan. These decisions went against the advice of the president’s top advisers, blindsided our allies and Congress, and delivered early Christmas presents to our adversaries from Russia and Iran to Hezbollah and the Taliban.
Cutting and running from Syria benefits only militants, Turkey, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Russia and Iran. We are abandoning our Kurdish partners, leaving them vulnerable to Turkey’s offensive, after they did the hard work of undermining the Islamic State.
Mr. Trump himself has dealt the death blow to effective policymaking. The president couldn’t care less about facts, intelligence, military analysis or the national interest. He refuses to take seriously the views of his advisers, announces decisions on impulse and disregards the consequences of his actions. In abandoning the role of a responsible commander in chief, Mr. Trump today does more to undermine American national security than any foreign adversary. Yet no Republican in Congress is willing to do more than bleat or tweet concerns.
Mattis' departure will leave the administration all but devoid of wise, principled leadership and the guts to check a president who consistently places politics and self-interest above national security.
Policy and Politics - what do you think?
With over seven decades of experience - feeling the hopes and disappointments of politics, seeing the idealism and disgust of policies - some of the things Bruce Joffe has learned in life may be wisdom, others may be illusion. You decide.
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