Donald Trump Is Accomplishing Russia’s Goals While Screaming “America First”
Updated February 2, 2018: House Republicans have officially launched an investigation into the DOJ and FBI, and released a dubious memo trying to discredit them.
“The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests — no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s… Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.” — Senator John McCain
Some truths are inherently self-evident while others need to be forcefully reaffirmed until they become universally recognized as fact.
It’s time to call the GOP propaganda machine’s recent attacks on the DOJ, FBI, Robert Mueller, and the U.S. Intelligence Community what they really are: Unpatriotic, coordinated attacks on the rule of law.
Do you remember the days when Fox News would spew lie after lie about President Obama’s lack of patriotism? Me too.
Well, we now have a President who belittles the U.S. Intelligence Community and praises Russian Authoritarian Vladimir Putin every chance he gets, while literally body slamming news organizations on Twitter.
FraudNewsCNN #FNN https://t.co/WYUnHjjUjg
The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russia’s longstanding objective has been to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order and our faith in democratic institutions. For decades, Russian propaganda has aimed to stir racial divisions, attack the credibility of the U.S. government, and try to weaken western influence. Today, we have a President, backed by the full support of his party and propaganda arms like Fox News, executing on our foreign adversary’s primary objectives. And they’re doing this all under the guise of “America First” (which actually has 20th century anti-Semitic roots).
It’s truly shocking to watch a political party attacking all of the American institutions that hold our country together. The very institutions that make us a government of laws, not of men.
These are not substantiated attacks with any basis in reality. These are politically motivated witch hunters crying wolf about a non-existent politically motivated witch hunt targeting Donald Trump.
Fox News, a network pretending to be a legitimate news source, has been making ridiculous claims like this:
@TomFitton: “I think the FBI’s been compromised. Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the @FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?” https://t.co/zBParrU9QJ
The only thing that remains is whether we have the fortitude to not just fire these people immediately, but to take them out in cuffs….” My #OpeningStatement : https://t.co/BNUtLVydah
Pushing completely false rhetoric of a “coup” or “assassination plot” against the President, is not only irresponsible, it’s incredibly dangerous.
What began as an effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, has turned into a coordinated effort to undermine the U.S. Constitution. Remember, Mueller’s investigation isn’t just probing collusion, it’s probing Russia’s entire interference campaign. This includes Russia’s propaganda and espionage tactics. So when the GOP tries to undermine this investigation, they aren’t just trying to obstruct justice…they are betraying their country.
This attack on the rule of law, orchestrated by the GOP in accordance with the President’s wishes, is a threat to our democracy.
And it’s all based on nonsense. For instance, their most recent conspiracy theory involving Peter Strzok. Hold my covfefe while I dismantle this quickly:
The day before Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein was set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, the DOJ released FBI agent Peter Strzok’s text messages to Congress in what was yet another attempt to put Mueller’s credibility into question. The texts had some anti-Trump messaged which expressed worry about what would happen if he got elected and called Trump an “idiot.” These texts were sent before the investigation began.
That is not nearly enough to discredit an entire investigation, but nevertheless, the GOP persists. Not to mention that Strzok also held negative views of Chelsea Clinton, President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Bernie Sanders.
I spoke to over a dozen former FBI agents for this story. Many wanted to stay off the record, but the message was broadly the same: agents are human. They are allowed to have political beliefs. And many were confused by Strzok’s abrupt demotion. “He’s been thrown to the wolves.”
All irrelevant nonsense, with no evidence Strzok’s views had any impact on his investigative work. And it definitely does not tarnish Mueller’s credibility, who immediately fired Strzok upon discovering the text messages this past summer. But that didn’t stop Rep. Jim Jordan and other Republicans at the hearing from echoing the Breitbart and Fox News propaganda, desperately trying to help the President obstruct justice.
So…the GOP expects us to believe that political views held by one FBI agent discredits Robert Mueller’s entire investigation, but when it comes to the at least 12 Trump associates who had contacts with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign and transition, including 19 face-to-face meetings and 51 communications, there was no collusion? And that the indictments and guilty pleas that have already been levied against Trump’s campaign chairman and White House national security adviser, mean nothing?
Fox News, Breitbart, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and now apparently House Republicans (who have been in contact with the White House) are depraved mouthpieces for Trumpism, irresponsibly gaslighting a large population of Americans into believing U.S. institutions are all partisan enemies of their beloved President. And it’s not just the FBI, DOJ, and Robert Mueller. To Trump’s followers, all other media sources are the “enemy of the American people” as President Trump so lovingly put it himself.
We are witnessing the theory of the “deep state” go mainstream. This is the Breitbartization of the Republican Party. The long-term effects of this short-sighted malfeasance will be monumental. An entire segment of the U.S. population is being primed for authoritarianism, digesting disinformation and convincing themselves their President is above the law.
After Trump admitted (on Twitter) to knowing Michael Flynn lied to the FBI before he asked former FBI Director James Comey to back off Flynn, Trump’s lawyer John Dowd made the following dubious claim, “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”
Interesting legal strategy. Since Dowd knows he won’t be able to prove Donald Trump didn’t violate the law, he’s claiming that the law doesn’t apply to him.
And it hasn’t stopped there. The Devin Nunes memo debacle is just the latest in a long series of the GOP and Trump administration’s attempts to obstruct justice and undermine American’s faith in their institutions.
The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!
The Nunes memo is a hoax. Don’t take our word for it. Take theirs… Sessions-led DOJ: It’d be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo Trump-appointee FBI Director Wray: Has “grave concerns” about the accuracy of the memo GOP Senator Thune: Says Senate should review memo https://t.co/YRxhXNoxXq
We read the memo. It is a misleading nothingburger. It omits: -The 2014 date of Carter Page’s initial FISA warrant (which was placed because the FBI thought he was a Russian agent) -The fact the Washington Free Beacon (conservative group) first funded the dossier. #MemoDay
This memo would actually be damning for Trump in a sane reality Rosenstein (Trump appointee) thought Carter Page (Trump campaign official) was so sketchy that he had to renew FISA surveillance on him (which was first placed in 2014 because the FBI thought he was a Russian agent) https://t.co/7zypp4kO4N
If these attacks on U.S. institutions aren’t enough to convince you that Trump is executing on Putin’s goals, take a look at our foreign policy. Donald Trump’s anti-NATO rhetoric, his withdrawal from the TPP which only helps a growing China, leaving the Paris Climate Accord, and other isolationist policies do nothing but reduce America’s global influence. There is a reason why every nation has less confidence in the U.S. since Trump came into office…except for Russia.
We have a President who acts as if he is compromised by Russian intelligence. Trump’s relentless objection to the fact Russia interfered in our democracy has led to his presidential daily briefings being modified to exclude any mention of Russia, in an effort to avoid upsetting him…
The result is w/out obvious parallel in US history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president-and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality-have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat.” https://t.co/KuLWUtaEiI
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: Vladimir Putin “knows how to handle an asset and that’s what he’s doing with the President” https://t.co/KxXPcUNuSA https://t.co/CXYiFBCHam
The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s. https://t.co/6dsbcBIla6
The Trump administration tried to lift sanctions on Russia as soon as they entered office and is STILL refusing to implement the new sanctions that were almost unanimously imposed by Congress. All of this, while his party deliberately tries to undermine an investigation into his ties to Russia that have already yielded guilty pleas.
“Putin has to believe this was the most successful intelligence operation in the history of Russian or Soviet intelligence. It has driven the American political system into a crisis that will last years.” — Andrew Weiss, a former adviser on Russia in the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations
While the far-right media is diligently picking away at Mueller’s credibility among his supporters, Donald Trump is picking away at the mainstream media, hollering “FAKE NEWS” and “Russia Hoax.”
And what is the mainstream media doing? They are trying to maintain perceived “objectivity” and giving the benefit of the doubt to Trump’s tactics.(Of course, with the exception of some star journalists on MSNBC like Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Ali Velshi, Stephanie Ruhle, Katy Tur, and Ari Melber. CNN anchors like Jake Tapper and wonderful print and online journalists are also holding the line.)
Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) gave a speech on the Senate floor, touching on the dangerous attacks on Robert Mueller’s investigation. Warner set a “red line” for President Trump and touched on how important it is for all American citizens to speak out against these efforts to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation.
Mark Warner just gave a speech on the Senate floor about Mueller’s investigation and set a “red line” for Trump “Congress must make clear…that firing the special counsel…is unacceptable & would have immediate & significant consequences” Full speech: https://t.co/YxCxTWSBIf https://t.co/eMuseHttqI
As journalists, it is our civic duty to push back on these Anti-American smears. Like I said in the first sentence of this article, the time to call these tactics what they are is now. We see the Trump disinformation machine in full-swing, gearing up for a major move to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation. Whether it will be a direct attempt to fire Mueller (which of course, isn’t that simple), a witch hunt review by a House Committee looking for “bias” in the Mueller probe, or an attempt to get Trump’s base to ignore Mueller’s findings, the media must not “both sides” this.
There is only one side: The President of the United States is waging a disinformation war, undermining his supporters’ faith in American institutions. What this is leading to could be a constitutional crisis.
What Trump is preparing his supporters for, we can’t be 100% sure. But whatever it is, I know the American people are ready. How can the mainstream media begin to prove that they are ready?
By calling a spade a spade. Or in this case, a wannabe despot a despot.