Once upon a time, Republicans used Russia as a cudgel against the supposedly soft-on-commies Democratic Party. They still lovingly recall their patron saint Ronald’s demand, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
But today the man who wants to build his own wall within the US had this to say about the Russians.
“They probably have her [Hillary Clinton’s] 33,000 emails, too. I hope they do.” Adding later, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Now, stand back and gasp. The GOP presidential candidate has just invited the tyrannical ex-head of the KGB president of Russia to conduct espionage on the US. Or should I say continue their cyber-spying?
In the wake of mounting evidence that two separate Russians spy agencies–the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU) and another called the FSB–were behind the release of embarrassing DNC emails showing that they were in fact supporting Hillary Clinton, as the Sanders campaign had long maintained.
That the favoritism was improper, to say the least, goes without saying. But what I want to get into is the far more dangerous Russian interference in our electoral process. And Trump’s shocking invitation to his “strong” pal in the Kremlin to engage in cyberwarfare in America. It’s almost as if he said, sure, take Alaska. It’s too cold there, anyway.
It was far from coincidental that the emails were released by WikiLeaks on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. The Russian hackers who stole the DNC emails left a trail of breadcrumbs that cyber-security experts have connected to two separate groups of Russian hackers. One of them has been hacking the State Department and White House unclassified system for years. An FBI investigation is already underway and the CIA will undoubtedly follow.
While Trump and Putin have been sending mash notes to each other for years, Hillary has been a thorn in the side of Vlad the Terrible for at least as long. And it seems that Julian Assange too has a grudge against Hillary Clinton.
Let this sink in for a moment. Donald Trump has asked a foreign power to spy on us. That makes him a modern Benedict Arnold. Cyberspying might not involve territory, but the modern world increasingly runs in cyberspace. I knew Trump’s campaign would sink to new depths, but I couldn’t have conceived how low he could go. I imagine that President Obama is furiously typing away to amend tonight’s speech as we speak.
It used to be that Republicans were the party of flag-waving patriotism. George H.W. Bush famously conducted a photo op in a flag factory as he called for a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Now it’s the Dems who are defending more than the symbols of patriotism. The Democratic National Convention has been all about fighting for a nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Donald Trump may have given his acceptance speech in front of a sea of flags, but his words set light to the principles for which it stands. And his actions undermine the very security he claims to be fighting for. Instead of making America great again, he’s asking the barbarians to sneak past the gate.
If a Democrat had said what Donald Trump just did, he or she would have been pilloried as a traitor by the very party Trump now leads.