The Family Trump is outraged that the fake media has refused to take them at their word.
Especially when President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he really isn’t sure that Russia — or anyone else for that matter — tried to subvert the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
But what is most outrageous to the rest of us now is a mind-boggling lack of outrage from so many famous names of the Republican Party. Even after we all have just heard and read the chain of deliberately deceitful words of Trump, his eldest son, Donald Jr., and his inner circle acolytes, who still are trying to hide what they knew about Russia’s effort to attack America’s democracy with cyber-weapons.
The CIA, FBI, NSA and Director of National Intelligence disclosed last fall that Russia hacked and leaked Democratic emails to help the Republican candidate win. Next time, Russia or some other foreign adversary may well seek to defeat the Republicans and elect Democrats, or maybe even another new party. And the Republican leaders ever since the end of World War II would have known that and demanded firm action to defend America’s political system. Just as they moved vigorously to halt all foreign adversaries who sought to invade, infiltrate or otherwise attack America’s homeland during the Cold War.
Yet most of today’s Republican leaders are content to mumble a few platitudes and not demand more from their own party’s maximum leader.
Even after they have read the latest disclosure (forced by the aggressive reporting of New York Times reporters) of Donald Jr.’s 2016 eruption of enthusiasm after being offered help, allegedly in the form of Russian government info incriminating Hillary Clinton.
A Kremlin-connected publicist, Rob Goldstone, who the Trumps knew, emailed him on June 3, 2016, with what he called an “ultra sensitive” offer. Goldstone wanted to set up a meeting between Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer who would provide “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Just 17 minutes later, Donald Jr. gushed his reply: “(I)f it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
(Days later, the meeting was set up for the Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower office and was also attended by Jared Kushner and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Donald Jr. says she never talked about any such ultra-sensitive info but instead just talked about her longtime effort to get rid of sanctions concerning a controversy over adoptions of Russian children by U.S. couples. Whether or not that is true is still uncertain.)
A month later, Donald Jr. appeared on CNN, and Jake Tapper asked about a Clinton official’s claim that Russia was behind the hacks of Democratic party emails as part of an effort to help Trump and defeat Clinton. Donald Jr. insisted at length this was all fake news.
“(T)his is time and time again, lie after lie. … It’s disgusting. It’s so phony. … I mean, I can’t think of bigger lies. … It’s disgusting and the people … should be fed up because when I heard it I certainly was.”
Fast forward to 2017: On May 11, President Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt the real reason he decided to fire FBI Director James Comey. “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.” Even as recently as just before his meeting this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G7 gathering in Germany, Trump was still insisting he didn’t know if it was Russia or somebody else who had hacked and leaked the Democrats’ emails.
Putin, reportedly gleeful among his Kremlin pals post-meeting, seemed to have basically gotten all he wanted out it. Indeed, Trump went along with Putin’s idea that the two nations team up in a joint cybersecurity effort. But the idea was immediately ridiculed back in the U.S.A., as analysts scoffed analogies about foxes guarding hen houses.
But two old-school Republican patriots, Sens. John McCain, Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, S.C., led the critics. “It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” said Graham. This time, they won, as Trump eventually backed away from the plan, albeit on tip-toes.
But McCain’s fellow Arizonan Barry Goldwater and, of course, Ronald Reagan would be shocked and saddened by the shattering sound of silence coming from many leaders of the party that had once thought it had cornered the market on patriotism.
Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.