John Colson: Is Trump colluding right now to undermine the 2018 election?
Hit & Run
President Donald J. Trump and his legal-beagle attack dog, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are desperately avoiding any admission that the Russian government used its accomplished army of hackers to influence the 2016 U.S. election.
Why, you might ask, would that be the case, given that the entire U.S. intelligence community believes Russian did exactly that, as do most Americans?
Is it because the Trump campaign truly did collude with the Russian electoral interference effort?
This would be in keeping with Trump’s televised invitation to the Russians to keep up the good work, when he publicly suggested during a news conference in July 2016 that it would be great if the hackers could find those 30,000 Hillary Clinton emails he keeps caterwauling about.
And when his handlers suggested the president had been joking, he took to Twitter the very next day for greater emphasis, repeating his invitation to the hackers and urging them to turn whatever they find over to the FBI.
Or could it be that the Russkies took Trump at his word, but failed to locate the emails in question, so instead Moscow made available to the FBI a videotape of the infamous “golden showers” episode involving Trump and a gaggle of Russian prostitutes some time in 2016?
Or could the reluctance to condemn Russian political hacking be because he is in so deep to the flow of cash from Russian oligarchs and banks (remember, he’s been in bankruptcy court more often than at beauty pageants) that he can’t do anything but deny, deny, deny and talk up his buddy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, every chance he gets.
Or is Trump’s refusal to publicly chastise Moscow and Putin over the election interference simply a matter of Trump’s admiration for plutocrats and dictators in general?
Well, perhaps the president knows, and if we’re lucky he’ll forget himself one night and admit it on Twitter. Beyond that, though, we’re in the dark here.
It should be noted that Sessions, who has been equally forthright (shouldn’t that be “forthwrong?”) in his rejection of any admission that Russia tainted the 2016 election, was the same guy who lied about his own Russian connections during that election year.
When he was caught in the lie, unlike others in Trumpworld who were forced out or fired when caught in an embarrassing lie, Sessions merely recused himself from any involvement in investigation of Russian electoral interference — much to the dismay of Trump, who had been counting on Sessions to either kick the investigation into the trash heap or, at least, keep investigators from getting anywhere near the Oval Office.
These days, the unholy Republican trinity of Trump, Sessions and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (who also worked slavishly during the election to stonewall investigation of the Russian hacking matter) are working in unison (with help from the party) to downgrade, ridicule, undermine and generally defeat the ongoing investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian interference with our election.
When three such dedicated political thugs spend so much of their verbal flatulence on any single issue — pissing on the fire, as it were — you can be sure that the fire is real and it has the distinct potential to ignite the pant cuffs of these very men.
Sessions, of course, would be one of the top officials in any normal government to go after the Russians, hammer and tongs, at the first whiff of political shenanigans aimed at undermining voter confidence in our electoral system.
Interestingly, it surely would have been a gleeful day for the Republican Party if they ever had the chance to accuse, say, Hillary Clinton of doing just what the Republican leadership has been accused of.
Oddly, the Trump administration and its supporters have tried, with little success, to do just that. They have claimed, with straight faces, that the Clinton political machine actually is the enemy here, and that the Clintonites, along with the FBI, were the real colluding parties here, hoping to uncover political dirt about Trump.
The core of this claim, of course, is Republicans’ deliberate, misleading interpretation of the notorious “Steele dossier,” a document produced by former British spy Christoper Steele that contained the accusations that Trump had been compromised by Russian intelligence agencies — accusations that included the so-called “piss tape” about the golden showers.
The problem here is that Sessions and the rest of the Trump loyalists are so busy defending their guy from charges of being too friendly with Russia (at least), that they are ignoring increasing evidence that Russians already are gearing up to interfere in the 2018 election.
That’s the one in which Democrats are hoping to turn the tables on Trump and his crew, and perhaps even regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
This, of course, is something Trump could not abide, so it would make sense, in a way, that he and his supporters don’t want to get in Russia’s way.
In fact, even if there was no collusion in 2016 (remember, Trump and his campaign never expected to win the election — they were in it for the publicity and to supersize the Trump brand), I would expect that given Trump’s unpopularity and the rising tide of Democratic energy as the 2018 election approaches, there might well be collusion underway now.
That may be the real reason they hate Mueller and his investigative team. They’re afraid the probe might uncover some ongoing evidence that the Trump campaign (yes, he already is campaigning for 2020) is now actively trying to help the Russians get in the way of any Democratic wins in the fall.
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