We should not let anything or anyone distract us from the fact that our greatest geopolitical foes, Russia, launched an influence campaign against our nation, in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election.
No, nobody “hacked” into voting machines, or anything so blatant.
It was an influence campaign. Scores of Russian “bots” flooded online polls, ran social media accounts and in general created an atmosphere that was ripe for controlling the narrative around the election.
To be clear, Hillary Clinton was awful. She ran a corrupt campaign. She ignored regions of the nation that she assumed to be Trump locks, therefore, not worth bothering with.
She would have been a corrupt and unworthy president, as well, so she doesn’t get a pass in any of this. The DNC really shot themselves in the foot by playing identity politics, rather than simply running a strong, likeable candidate.
But the primary…
No, the primary had little to do with it. As those regrettable leaked emails proved, the DNC was orchestrating the whole process, in order to get Hillary Clinton to the nomination.
Democrat voters were rightfully furious over the manipulation.
Unfortunately, Republican voters were much less so over the manipulation by a hostile foreign power.
It is manipulation that is going on to this day. Even while claiming that the ongoing investigation into Russian interference is a hoax, now-President Trump and his administration are doing very little to cover their allegiance to that hostile foreign power.
At a July 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump insisted on a private meeting, with no policy aides or note takers in the room – out of fear of having what was discussed leaked.
Just roll that one around in your mind. Our president wanted to meet privately with a former KGB officer and the president of the hostile nation accused of interfering in our election process, and he didn’t want anyone to know what they talked about.
Emerging from that two hour huddle, President Trump stood beside a smiling Putin and threw our nation’s intelligence community under the bus, siding with Russia over the United States.
Nothing he has done since returning from that meeting has adequately explained his betrayal, or displayed any measure of remorse about the chaos it caused.
On Tuesday, the White House released transcripts of the joint press conference between Trump and Putin.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow focused on something curious about that release, first reported by The Atlantic, and quickly highlighted it on her program.
Maddow specifically references a question from Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, who asked Putin if he wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election and if he directed any of his officials to help with that effort.Putin responds that he did want Trump to win the election because “he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”
Did you get that? Putin wanted Trump to win. He said it. He verified a key part of what our intelligence community has insisted was the case.
So what was wrong with the White House’s release of the “official” transcript?
That footage is then contrasted with what the White House posted, which omits the first part of Mason’s question. Mason is only seen asking if Putin directed officials to help with election interference.
“They just dropped it out,” Maddow said. “What the White House has disappeared from the official U.S. government record of that meeting … is President Putin answering in the affirmative when asked if he wanted Trump to win the election,” Maddow said.
Say what you will about Rachel Maddow. I’m not exactly a fan, myself, but in this instance, she’s right to be disturbed.
This was an official White House transcript and it was altered to give a false impression of a sitting U.S. president betraying his nation.
That’s not how our republic is supposed to operate.
“At least the White House had the courtesy to leave in half of his question so you can get a misleading answer,” Maddow then said.
Because the Trump administration is all about misleading. That’s what happens when you elect a corrupt, oft-bankrupted businessman, with an intensely checkered past and a long list of questionable associations.
The concern now is why Congress has remained impotent and unwilling to use their authority to pull back the nation from the cliff.
White House edits video to remove question about whether Putin wanted Trump to win. pic.twitter.com/ExlsHNlgF8
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) July 25, 2018