Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., left, speaks to invited guests during the reception at the Marijuana Policy Projects 15th annual gala, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
I wouldn’t say that today was a high point in President Trump’s time in office. As I posted earlier, I think his statements in Helsinki not only let Russia off the hook for really bad behavior but they made Trump seem obsessed by the Mueller investigation. This is damned unfortunate because none of it had to happen. Objectively, the Trump administration, and by extension Trump, himself, because he approved of the decisions, has been significantly tougher on Russia than Obama. This from Foreign Policy:
More than a year into his presidency, Trump’s Russia policy is far more forceful than that of his predecessor. It is substantive, antagonistic to Russian aims, and not at all to the Kremlin’s liking. Still, this fact has been buried by politics, optics, and the president’s own behavior. Some in the Russian government, however, continue to cling to the idea that Trump is on their side. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently voiced his own theory of the relationship. He explained in an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant that Trump “knows perfectly that the Congress would make him [take action]. If the U.S. president refuses to do what the overwhelming majority of congressmen want, and there is such a majority, I say once again, his veto will be overcome.”
Lavrov is right that Congress supported and adopted many of the new Russia sanctions, and it deserves credit for those moves. This does not, however, negate the president’s own policy choices. Trump was not required to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine. He did not have to expand the Magnitsky list and could have made use of national security waivers to avoid adding new names. His Justice Department did not have to force RT to register as a foreign agent or cease its operations in the United States. He could have easily stayed quiet on Moscow’s poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain rather than crack down on Russia’s diplomatic presence in the United States.
After all this, if Lavrov still believes that Trump is eager to pursue some kind of detente with Russia, his denial borders on delusion. Trump’s Russia policy is his own. Either Lavrov is playing to a domestic audience and refusing to admit the Kremlin’s mistaken faith in Trump or getting played.
Trump’s policy toward the Kremlin should be evaluated on its merits. If you extract partisan politics and strip away justifiable distaste for his general conduct, what remains is arguably the most effective Russia policy since the end of the Cold War.
This does remain the weirdest thing of all. The administration's anti-Russian actions have actually been notably tough. It's just the rhetoric from Trump that has been repulsive and appalling. https://t.co/rPco0J29Fz
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) July 16, 2018
While Trump did himself no favors today, it is entirely possible that the Democrats will end up making him look statesmanlike by comparison.
Earlier today a douchebag named Scott Dworkin sent out this tweet:
BREAKING: Trump just said he trusted Putin over the American military and the American intelligence services, in the assessment of election interference. He absolutely needs to resign. What a complete and utter disgrace. Absolutely disgusting. What a traitor. #TreasonSummit
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 16, 2018
The claim of treason has been part of the Democrat lexicon for a while. Throughout the Obama administration, all you had to do to be accused of treason by a Democrat was to criticize any foreign policy decision by the Lightworker. With the election of President Trump, this impulse mainlined a PCP-and-steroid cocktail. Suddenly “RUSSIA IS NOT OUR FRIEND!!1!11!1!!!” was everywhere and virtually any action by Trump in regards to Russia short of initiating a thermonuclear exchange was called treason.
While Dworkin is easily written off as a douchebag doing douchebaggy things to get attention, into the fray comes Democrat Representative Steve Cohen:
Where are our military folks ? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy! https://t.co/3eF7OLKEdN
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 16, 2018
There is no way to sugar coat this. Cohen is clearly calling for a military coup d’etat. It is in small words and on Twitter so one doesn’t have to parse it for nuance. To say that he’s only asking for geographic location when he says “where are our military folks?” is akin to claiming that Henry II merely wanted Thomas Becket fired when he said, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
Cohen is trying to claim it was all a big misunderstanding:
Talk about jumping to conclusions without talking to source. No coup called for . I seriously doubt anyone would use twitter to do .. one tweet if by land two if by sea…Wow https://t.co/3d0uhGa57t
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 16, 2018
Except that is exactly what he did. The alternative explanation, that he’s a freakin moron who shouldn’t be allowed near objects sharper than a tennis ball, does little to exonerate him.
And it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. The entire purpose of the Mueller investigation is and always has been to create grounds for the impeachment of Trump by the House should the Democrats take control. While Cohen is an outlier in advocating that the president be removed by force, across the left and in Never Trump circles, to the extent they are different anymore, there were calls for Trump’s impeachment after the Helsinki meeting. It won’t be long before Cohen’s view will be a mainstream Democrat view.
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