President Trump reacted to the indictment of 13 Russians for conspiring to commit fraud by interfering in the 2016 presidential election by shifting blame to President Obama for not addressing the situation when he first learned about it while still in office – but MSNBC host Joy Reid is not having any of that.
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Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2018
In her own tweet today, Reid shot back that Obama did indeed act.
He did. His administration expelled 35 Russians in retaliation; sanctions your incoming national security adviser Mike Flynn apparently tipped off the Russian ambassador not to worry about because a friendly regime was coming to Washington… https://t.co/doHWQrwS7N https://t.co/NtMYd8KE00
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 19, 2018
What Reid is talking about is the period right after the election when President Obama announced those sanctions.
Trump had already appointed General Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor, and Flynn had a series of conversations with the Russians, including Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., just before and on the day that President Obama announced the sanctions.
Later, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted that Flynn did not discuss the sanctions with Kislyak or other Russian officials.
At the time, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that he had been told by a “senior government official” that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador several times on the day the sanctions were announced.
Ignatius noted that if Flynn had said anything which undercut the U.S. sanctions, he would have been in violation of the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from influencing foreign governments concerning disputes with the U.S.
So it would have been against the interests of Flynn, Trump or Spicer to admit what they really talked about.
What we do know now is that Flynn had a lot more conversations with Russians than he let on at the time, and had a relationship with a Russian news organization R.T., the Russian state-owned English language network, which U.S. intelligence considers a propaganda tool.
Flynn, forced out by Trump and later indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, may yet tell the truth, but what is now clear is that Trump has taken a soft approach on Russia.
Even recently Trump refused to implement sanctions on Russia passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress, claiming that there are already enough sanctions to be effective.
We also know Trump has lied repeatedly about his knowledge of Russia and his contacts with the Russians. He even lied this week about his claims that the Russians did not interfere in the election, which in light of the new indictments is accepted as fact by everyone else now.
So when Trump tries to blame Obama for the mess he helped make, and his failure since he took office to be effective in dealing with Russia, it strongly suggests Reid is right and the president, as usual, is just tweeting fake news to cover his own butt.