Despite all the information we now have, and in spite of the entire U.S. intelligence community being in agreement that Russia actively sought to influence the 2016 election, President Donald Trump is unwilling to take a firm stand against the Kremlin.
In fact, if the new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci is to be believed, the president intends to go down swinging in defense of Russia, before he concedes there may be a problem.
Scaramucci appeared with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.
“He basically said to me, ‘Hey you know, this is, maybe they did it, maybe they didn’t do it,'” Scaramucci said of a recent conversation he’d had with the President about alleged Russian interference.
The big problem with Scaramucci (and Trump) seems to be a concern that if they accept what the intelligence community is saying, then, that somehow lessens the impact of Trump’s November win.
“The mainstream media position on this, that they interfered in the election,” Scaramucci said. “It actually in his mind, what are you guys suggesting? You’re going to delegitimize his victory?”
No one has said that the Russians changed the votes or directly altered anything (although several reports have emerged of attempted hacks on election systems). The information has always been that it was an influence campaign. Trump and his team’s refusal to work with the information we have and then to speak out firmly against any such meddling does not serve our nation or the integrity of our elections well.
It serves his ego, but not our nation.
“A person that’s going to be super, super tough on Russia is President Donald J. Trump,” Scaramucci said.
And you come to this conclusion based on what? It can’t be the recent G20 summit meeting between them.
Trump has offered varied responses on Russian efforts to influence the election over the past few months. Speaking ahead of his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in early July, Trump said, “It was Russia, and I think it was probably others also.” He also cast doubt on the strength of the intelligence community’s conclusions, citing the erroneous assessment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
We can speculate on that for ages. We have to keep in mind that many stories around that time were that the WMD were squirreled away, possibly to Syria, before the coalition forces moved into the area.
We also need to consider that more than a decade has passed (and a whole lot of new technology has been introduced) since the Iraq war. I’d be willing to bet that for all three intelligence agencies in agreement, that is because they’ve got every reason to believe it.
Trump may have enlisted the help of a particularly mendacious character in Scaramucci to go out and oversell the administration’s narrative, but to discount Russia’s involvement so off-hand is to our detriment.
It is unbelievable that we now have a sitting U.S. president determined to push back against the men and women of his own government’s intelligence, in order to give the benefit of the doubt to a hostile foreign nation.