On Monday in Helsinki, Donald Trump said he didn’t “see any reason” to believe the American security state’s assessment that Russia was behind the cyberattacks on the Democratic Party during the 2016 election — because Russian president Vladimir Putin said that it wasn’t.
The president went on to blame American law-enforcement agents for bringing U.S.–Russian relations to an all-time low, and endorsed a bizarre proposal from Putin, in which Special Counsel Robert Mueller would work with Russian officials to investigate cybercrimes against American political organizations — and, also, to prosecute American citizens who’ve gotten onto the wrong side of the Kremlin.
This performance received a chilly reception from American lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle. John McCain declared that “no prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.” House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “the president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” and implored him to stay “focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi all but declared the “pee tape” an incontrovertible reality.
But the most devastating responses to Trump’s showing in Finland might have been those issued by the White House itself. On Monday afternoon, Trump tweeted, “As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.’ However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!”
Ostensibly, the president is saying here that he does believe the FBI’s conclusions about Russian interference — but was simply unwilling to stand up for American law enforcement in Putin’s presence. It is hard to see how such behavior does not qualify as the height of diplomatic cowardice, under the American right’s own definition of that term.
Meanwhile, anonymous administration officials offered an even more damaging “defense” in interviews with Axios:
• A number of people who’ve discussed election meddling with Trump, including current senior administration officials, say his brain can’t process that collusion and cyberattacks are two different things.
• Trump seems constitutionally incapable of taking anything Mueller finds seriously.
• He views the entire exercise as a “witch hunt” cooked up by Democrats and Deep State conspirators to undermine his election win.
• Ego prevents him acknowledging the possibility that any external action could have interfered with his glorious victory.
The president isn’t a traitor: He’s just constitutionally incapable of processing simple information, or prioritizing the national interest above his own egoistic desires.
Looks like it’s time for Mueller to call off the “Witch Hunt,” and for congressional Democrats to cut out that “impeachment” talk — clearly, Donald Trump is fit to exercise unilateral control of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.